No Cake, Please. [Salted Rasberry Buttermilk Cake]


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
2 eggs
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.


Frustrations and Cake [Banana Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting]

It’s been a bit of a week over here in my neck of the woods. There were some contract renewal issues at my office, issues meaning no one renewed the contract, and today marks the third day of a forced unpaid vacation. I’m sure you can only imagine how utterly impressed I am about it all.

The current state of events has left me feeling a little mopey, lost and lethargic without a job to go to in the mornings. I’m by no means a work-a-holic, but I do prefer to have some sort of purpose in my day-to-day routine. I guess you could call me a ‘get-out-of-bed-and-do-something-a-holic’.

Now, with no where to go and nothing pressing to do, the most obvious purpose of my day was to bake a cake. That’s what normal people do when there is nothing else to do, yes? I thought you’d agree. 

It’s pretty normal around these parts to find a few bananas hanging out patiently in the freezer until I’m ready to call them up to play. And yesterday was their day to enter the big leagues.

Let me tell you, there is simply no better way to spend a rainy afternoon, than taking some looming frustrations out on a bag of flour, some mashed bananas and a little cream cheese. Especially when you have a very sweet friend making you dinner who appreciates the simple pleasures of a slice of heaven and a cuppa tea.

Banana Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted slightly from Whipped The Blog

This cake is wonderfully rich and moist and makes a great dessert, snack or even…ahem… breakfast. Be sure to have a friend around to share with. It makes a good sized cake. If you’re not much for spice, feel free to leave them out and have a simple banana cake with plain cream cheese frosting.

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk, slightly beaten
1 cup bananas (very ripe or if frozen, thawed), mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the eggs. Give it another 20 second mix and scrape the bowl down again. Add the mashed bananas, mix until combined. Add the buttermilk and flour in a few additions, mixing to combine in between additions. Scrape the bowl one last time and give it a 10 second mix on medium to be sure everything is well combined.

Pour batter into two 8” pans that have been buttered and floured, see instructions here.

I like to bake the cakes separately, but feel free to bake them in the oven at the same time. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 20 for doneness. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. If there is still batter on the pick, put cake back in for a few more minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan 5 minutes before moving to a mesh/wire rack to cool completely.

As mentioned, feel free to leave spices out. Substitute 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract for a simple cream cheese frosting.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice
3- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Toasted walnuts or pecans to garnish (optional)

Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and cream until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on low, so as not explode sugar in your face, until starting to combine. Scrape bowl and mix on medium until desired texture is achieved. Add more sugar if it’s too loose, add milk/water 1 tbsp at a  time if too dry.

I iced the whole cake, but feel free to ice the middle and top of the cake if you like a little less frosting.

(so I nibbled a little off the top…. sue me)