Feb 1, 2011

Versatile Buttermilk Cake

I finally got to baking with buttermilk with pretty good results. This time I tried a recipe of Martha Stewart's that I found on YouTube. Someone was kind enough to post the video along with the full recipe in the notes.

I've always thought that every cake recipe is kind of versatile because you can play around with the flavoring and decorations and everything. So this one is no different really, but it actually gives you directions for three different flavors you can bake it in.

So there's Vanilla, Lemon and Chocolate and it also allows for extra egg-whites that you can use to whip up a creamy frosting for the cake. But I chose to just bake the cake for now. Will move on to frostings when I'm pretty confident about my cakes!

Also, what's special about this recipe is that I used two of the three wonderful gifts that my dear friend Meenal brought to me from the U.S. A round spring form pan and a citrus zester! The other one is a candy thermometer. I could have used it as well for the egg-white frosting, but perhaps, another time.

1. Versatile Buttermilk Cake

This buttermilk cake is quite different from the regular pound cake that I've talked about in my last post. This one is heavier and denser. It has a stronger texture, as in, it's not so tender. It doesn't crumble so much and yet, it's also pretty soft and moist.

It's very rich in flavor, very different from the one I made before. There's something else to this cake. According to my husband, you can taste a rich milky goodness (I suspect it's from the buttermilk) in it. So overall, I would say this is a nice recipe and pretty easy to follow as well.

2. Butter and Sugar ~ Whisked into a Fluffy Cream
3. The Final Cake Batter

The recipe once again makes a big cake; the batter has to be poured in two 8x2" round pans. Since I have only one, and my small oven can fit only one pan at a time, I was putting off trying this recipe for a while. But since I got the spring form pan which is slightly bigger and deeper, I went ahead with it. And I ended up with a pretty tall cake!

So ya, if you have two round 8x2" pans and an oven big enough to fit them, please go ahead and try it that way. Or try it in a bigger pan, maybe 10x2". Or if your pan is deeper like mine, that should be fine too. I'm not sure how to halve this recipe, but please let me know if you decide to try that.

4. Buttermilk Cake ~ Hot from the Oven!

5. Cooling with the Rim Removed

RECIPE ~ Versatile Buttermilk Cake

  • Butter at room temperature -1 cup or 8 oz or 225 g or 16 Tbsp + extra for preparing the cake pan
  • Granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cups
  • All Purpose Flour/Maida - 2 1/2 cups + extra for preparing the cake pan
  • Large Eggs - 2
  • Large Egg Yolks - 3
  • Buttermilk - 1 cup
  • Baking Powder - 1/2 Tsp
  • Baking Soda - 1/2 Tsp
  • Salt - 1 Tsp
  • Vanilla extract - 2 Tsp
Note: The three egg whites can be used to prepare frosting. I've included a link at the bottom of this post where you can find that recipe.
For buttermilk, I used slightly sour home-made curd. Beat the curd until there are no lumps and add just a little water to reduce the thickness. For those who don't have curd handy at home, there are some substitutes: 1. Store-bought curd or yogurt or buttermilk itself, 2. Sour cream, 3. Buttermilk powder (available only in some countries) and 4. Instant buttermilk: take a measuring cup and add 1 Tbsp of white vinegar or lemon/lime juice. Fill the rest of the 1 cup measure with milk. Allow it to stand for 10-15 minutes. Mix well and use!

Utensils & Bakeware
  • Mixing Bowl and Spoon or Spatula
  • Electric Hand or Stand Mixer (optional)
  • Two 8x2" round baking pans (or equivalent)
  • OTG / Convection Oven - Regular or Microwave
  • Cooling Rack or Tray
  • Oven Mitts
  • Prepare the baking pans by greasing with butter and dusting with flour all over. Remove excess flour.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda and salt) in a bowl and whisk together. Sift once to remove lumps if necessary.
  • Measure out the sugar and powder it in a Grinder if the granules are very big.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine soft butter and sugar. Whip using an electric hand or stand mixer at a high speed for about 4-5 minutes or until a creamy consistency is achieved.
  • Add whole eggs and egg yolks one at a time and mix each time on a low speed until eggs are incorporated.
  • Add essence/extract. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  • Add the flour and buttermilk alternately, in 3-4 additions. Mix after each addition on low speed just until incorporated. Make sure you start and end with flour additions.
  • Do not overmix.
  • Spoon batter into the prepared cake pans and smooth the top with a spatula or spoon until even.
Note: If you don't have an electric mixer, you can use your hand and a balloon whisk/wooden spoon. Whisk the butter and sugar as long as it takes to achieve the desired consistency (as in pic # 2). Rest of the ingredients can be folded in gently. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl before adding, to avoid curdling.

Baking Instructions
  • Preheat Oven to 180C/350F for about 15 minutes. This can be done just before mixing the batter.
  • Bake at same temperature for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. 
  • Invert cake onto a plate and allow it to cool completely.
Note: My cake baked for 1 hr before it was done. So don't be worried if yours takes a while too. Check after about 35 minutes and leave it longer if it's not done.

  • Lemon Buttermilk Cake - Substitute vanilla extract for 2 Tbsp Lemon/Lime Juice and 1 Tbsp Lemon/Lime Zest. Add the zest along with the dry ingredients mixture and mix well. Add the juice along with the buttermilk. If you don't have a zester, use 1/2 Tsp Lemon Essence instead of the zest and add it with the buttermilk.
  • Chocolate Buttermilk Cake - Use 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and only 2 cups of all purpose flour. Mix cocoa with the rest of the dry ingredients. Continue as normal.

You can watch Martha's video and get the recipe for the frosting as well over here

I hope you try out this cake. As always, I'm happy to hear from you!

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