I don’t like cake.
So there. I said it. Just like that. I hope we can still be friends despite this obvious character flaw. It’s just one of those things I don’t care for. Perhaps too many boxed Betty Crocker birthday cakes at birthday parties growing up, or maybe I’m just extremely bizarre. Either way, if it’s in the room and offered to me, I will turn it down 9 times out of 10. And that one time I will reluctantly accept a slice, is likely because I feel like a terrible guest turning down cake (Who doesn’t like cake? Are you watching your weight? Oh, just have one little piece!).
All that being said, there are types of cake that I do enjoy. They are not the vanilla drenched, gritty and sickeningly sweet iced cakes of my childhood, no no, they are the simple everyday cakes, rustic in appearance, unglazed, un-iced and often thrown together in a matter of minutes. Those are the cakes I could get busy with. A slice of cake you could just as easily have for breakfast or an afternoon snack as you could for dessert, without feeling guilty, that is. One that is instantly made better by a leisurely dip in a cup of Earl Grey. And the type of cake that is there, waiting for you unassumingly at the end of a long and grueling day. That is the sort of cake I pine for. And if I’m pinning for it, I have a feeling you might be too. Afterall, I can’t be the only loon in the world who has a distaste for the rich and sugary.
I spotted this recipe on 101cookbooks, a blog which I have unapologetically professed my love for many times before, and knew right away that it would quickly move to the top of my list of unfussy favourites. The cake itself isn’t very sweet, but a generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar and big icy looking salt crystals makes up for what the cake lacks in sweetness. A few raspberries, strewn about haphazardly, a little bit of lemon and tangy buttermilk, and you’ve got yourself a cake that will save your buns when you forgot you were supposed to bring dessert to your In-Law’s Sunday dinner. Or perhaps when you just need a little something to dip in your tea Sunday morning. Either way, I have no doubt it will make it’s way into your recipe collection the same way it did mine.
Salted Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
adapted from 101Cookbooks
As Heidi suggests, when you’re melting the butter, feel free to keep cooking it until it’s a deep golden brown. This brown butter will give the cake a completely different taste. Deeper and nuttier.
Heidi suggests using whole wheat pastry flour, but I didn’t have any on hand so I made some changes. If you can find it, feel free to use that instead.
Lastly, if raspberries aren’t available, use whatever berry you have on hand.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
zest of 2 lemons
1/2-1 cup of raspberries (depending on pan circumference)
3 tbsp large grain raw or turbinado sugar
1 tsp large grain flaky finishing salt
Grease and flour an 11-inch tart/quiche pan (I used a smaller and wasn’t able to get as many raspberries on it) or a 9x13-inch rectangular baking dish.
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, add the flour, baking power, brown sugar and salt. Whisk just to combine.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and lemon zest. Pour over the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Try not to over mix the batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread from the centre outwards until evenly distributed. Give each raspberry a little squeeze before placing on top of the cake (helps the juices meld with the sugar…and looks prettier!). When you’re done arranging the raspberries, sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with both the large grain sugar and salt.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Pay careful attention to cooking time if you’re using the rectangle baking dish.
Serve all by itself, with a dollop of whipped cream or alongside a cup of tea.