Archive for: buttermilk
A lovely, layered dessert known as a “magic cake” has been pipping up on blogs all over the place lately. The cake is a dessert which magically turns itself into layers of cake and custard while baking in the oven, and it reminds me a lot of an impossible pie. Impossible pie is a type of custardy dessert that has a small amount of flour in it which allows a distinct “crust” to form during baking and give the pie two layers with very little work. Magic cake works in a very similar way, but has the custard on the bottom, rather than on the top like the impossible pie.
Magic cake is quite easy to make and this version of it uses buttermilk for a wonderfully tangy, buttery flavor that is addictive. The cake starts by mixing up a thin batter, using a relatively small amount of flour for a cake batter, then egg whites are folded in to it. It is difficult to directly fold the egg whites into the batter because it is so fluid, so I recommend stirring some in to thicken the batter (it’s ok if they loose a little volume) and then fold in the rest. The cake is baked at a low temperature and it separates into a sponge cake-like top layer and a dense custardy layer underneath. Unlike a pudding cake, the custard here is quite firm and very easy to slice through once the cake has set and cooled.
The vanilla and buttermilk cake is delicious, with a dense and custardy texture that you won’t find in any other kind of cake. I am a big custard fan and I am more than happy to eat this delicious cake plain. Buttermilk and vanilla go with all kinds of flavors, however, and this is a great base recipe to dress up. It is fantastic when served with fresh berries and whipped cream, and a drizzle of maple syrup is a simple – but amazing – way to finish it off just before serving, too.
This cake is baked in an 8 x 8-inch square baking dish. You can opt for a round dish of similar size. The depth of the pan is part of what makes this cake nice and custardy at the bottom, so while you could use a 9-inch pan in a pinch, you might not get quite as clear of a custardy layer as you would in the slighlty smaller pan.
There are cakes that are good for special occasions, like holidays and birthdays, and there are everyday cakes. Everyday cakes should be easy to make when you’re in the mood to treat yourself, but they can come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. This Buttermilk Cherry Cake is just one example of a great everyday cake. It comes together easily and the cake is topped with a little sugar instead of frosting – and, most importantly, it is delicious.
The cake has a light, soft crumb and a nice buttery flavor, thanks to both butter and buttermilk in the cake batter. It is actually quite tasty on its own, but it is also a great backdrop for fruits and that is where the cherries come in to play. The cherries add bright pops of color and flavor to the cake. A little vanilla and almond extract in the cake batter also serve to highlight the cherries.
I like to keep jarred cherries packed in juice on hand for baking. They’re easy to work with in recipes like this one, as well as in pies and cobblers. Fresh cherries will work just as well here, just make sure to pit them before using them. If you have frozen cherries, you don’t need to defrost them before stirring them into your batter, but you might need to add an extra couple of minutes to the baking time, since your cake will start off on the cool side before it goes into the oven. And if you’re not a big fan of cherries, you can always use this cake batter with blueberries, raspberries or any other berry you prefer.
This Banana Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is the kind of classic cake that never goes out of style. It’s the kind of cake that you can bring to bake sales or barbecues, and even serve at dressy dinner parties. It is also very easy to make, so it’s the type of recipe that you can keep “in your back pocket” for occasions when you need a cake quickly. In short, it is an all purpose cake recipe and it is absolutely delicious.
Bananas and chocolate share the flavor spotlight in the cake. There are very generous amounts of both mashed banana and cocoa powder in the cake batter, and they contribute to a cake that is extremely moist and has a very tight, tender crumb to it. There are subtle butter and vanilla undertones here, but chocolate and banana are the stars. The cake is very satisfying, but it is not to rich or heavy, so you can eat a generous slice without feeling stuffed, too.
I baked this cake in a 10-inch ring pan, but it can also be baked in a bundt pan. The baking time will be about the same, but don’t forget to grease and flour your bundt pan to ensure that the cake comes out cleanly. You can serve it plain, or top it off with a drizzle of chocolate or cream cheese frosting. You can even turn it into a sundae with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake keeps well for several days when stored in an airtight container, and you can even freeze a few (unfrosted) slices to save for another day.
Buttermilk pie is a favorite of mine around fall and in the winter. The pie is something of a Southern classic, and although I am not from the South, it is definitely a well-liked comfort food dessert to have when the weather starts to cool down. Buttermilk pie is essentially a custard pie made with tangy, buttery buttermilk as the primary dairy component. They’re often flavored with a bit of nutmeg or lemon zest. This Buttermilk Lime Pie has a flavor in it that you don’t normally see in buttermilk pies and marries buttermilk pie with key lime pie, another flavor that I am a big fan of.
The pie has a bright, but not tart, lime flavor that comes from freshly grated lime zest, not from the addition of lime juice. It has an almost pudding-like texture that is fluffier and less dense than the filling of a typical key lime pie. It also isn’t quite as silky smooth as key lime pie fillings tend to be. The result of this is that the pie feels a lot homier to me, and it also is more likely to encourage me to reach for seconds. The pie can be served at room temperature, but I prefer it slightly chilled with a bit of whipped cream on the side.
I used a homemade graham cracker crust for this pie. Graham crackers make for a crispy crust and add a really nice additional layer of flavor to the pie. I generally opt for graham cracker crusts when I make key lime pies, too, so using one here reminds me of key lime pie even more. A pastry crust works perfectly well, with this filling but should be blind baked before adding the filling to it. If you do use a pastry crust, consider adding an teaspoon of lime zest when you make it, to further highlight the citrus in this dessert.
Buttermilk pie is great any time of year, but I especially like it during the summer. The pie is easy to put together and has a fresh, tangy flavor to it that goes oh-so-well with all kinds of summer fruits and berries. It is even easier when you put this pie into bar form. As with cheesecake, putting this pie into bar form makes it even easier to make and to serve.
These Buttermilk Pie Bars start with a shortbread crust. Like a shortbread cookie, the crust is substantial and not just an afterthought at the bottom of the pan, but it really helps give the custardy pie bars stability and makes each slice easy to handle. The topping is just like my buttermilk pie filling, firm yet tender and with a great buttermilk flavor that isn’t too sweet. As I said before, this makes it the perfect backdrop for fresh fruit or berries.
I kept the flavorings simple in the bars, using vanilla and nutmeg. These two spices often appear in buttermilk pies. If you want to give your bars a little twist, adding some lemon or orange zest into both the crust and the filling will add a new dimension to the bars, introducing yet another layer of flavor to this simple dessert.