I was planning to make chocolate chip shortbread this week, but I was inspired by Lori to bake something with raspberries instead! I present to you a fail-proof Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. This recipe from Gourmet made its way around the blogging circuit after it first came out, and it seems that no one has ever managed to screw it up.
I doubled the recipe and I’m glad I did! The cake was soft, pillowy, super moist, and just sweet enough to satisfy my serious sweet tooth but perfect for those who prefer less sweet desserts. Less sweet desserts = totally acceptable for breakfast. I loved that it had the richness of a pound cake yet was somehow lighter and less dense.
The cake also had a fabulously crunchy top the day it was baked, but the top completely softened the next day. Because I like crunchy tops, I would serve this cake the day it’s made, but it still tastes delicious (in fact, possibly more delicious) the next day. The choice is yours: crunchy top or melt-in-your-mouth texture.
I did make minor changes to the original recipe (I almost always modify recipes) but the cake still came out fantastic. I highly recommend baking this cake in an 8-inch round cake pan as anything larger may result in a cake that is slightly too flat. And be sure to grease your pans well! The bottoms of my cakes stuck to the pan and this resulted in some major tearing. Luckily, I managed to reattach the bottoms after immediately performing some life-saving emergency surgery on the cakes. I will definitely line my pans with parchment paper when I make this again.
Because I never have buttermilk on hand, I used a substitute of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (recall that I doubled the recipe). Everyone says that you’re supposed to use white vinegar or lemon juice, but apple cider vinegar worked just fine. I was a bit taken aback (ok, more like freaked out) by how intense the curdling was – the almond milk separated until the bottom half of the measuring cup only contained yellowish water and the top half of the measuring cup was filled with stringy white curds. This is normal! Do not be afraid!
Finally, it is quite obvious that my cakes are pink! My wonderful boyfriend brought me fine pink sugar from King Arthur Bakery in Vermont and I was dying to use it. I sprinkled a mixture of granulated white sugar and fine pink sugar on top of my cakes before baking. I think it looks very pretty! Some may say gaudy, but I’m the type of person who would put sparkly pink sugar on a roast chicken.
Feel free to use blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or pretty much anything you like in place of the raspberries. Throw in some lemon zest; use almond extract instead of vanilla. Just make this cake.
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Grease and line 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
- At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
- Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.
- Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.