Buttermilk Country Cake with Crème Fraîche and Berries

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So I am a year older today!  That’s fun, isn’t it?

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I had a wonderful birthday full of fun.  I spent the afternoon in youth symphony rehearsal with some of my favourite friends and teachers, I went out to have a lovely oyster dinner with my family, I talked with out of state family members on the phone, and I enjoyed this lovely cake.  (Which I really think you need to make now, as it is one of my favourites.)

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BUTTERMILK COUNTRY CAKE

Recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, which is probably one of my all time favourite cookbooks.  Even if you’re not an avid baker, it is, in my opinion, an essential book to have on hand whenever you want to make a cake.  But not only cake–frostings and compotes and cremes and meringues and more.  She also spends a lot of time explaining the chemistry of her cakes and other recipes, which is a fascinating delight to read.

  • 4 large egg yolks (75 grams)
  • 169 milliliters / 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200 grams / 2 cups cake flour
  • 200 grams / 1 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 110 grams / 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • quick crème fraîche, to serve (recipe below)
  • fresh strawberries, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 degree F with rack in the center of the oven.  Grease a 9 inch cake pan, line the bottom with parchment, and grease again.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the yolks, a quarter of the buttermilk, and the vanilla extract.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of your electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and buttermilk and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase to medium speed (high if using a hand mixer) and beat for 90 seconds to aerate the batter.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Gradually add in the egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the spatula.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.  The cake should only shrink from the sides of the pan upon removal from the oven.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto a greased wire rack.  To prevent splitting, re-invert so that the top is up.  Cool completely before serving.

When ready to serve, place the cake on a platter.  Top generously with crème fraîche (you might have some left over) and sliced strawberries.

Serves 8-10

QUICK CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Also from The Cake Bible (see above for link).

  • 355 milliliters / 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 120 grams / 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 25 grams / 2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar

In a large mixing bowl place in all of the ingredients and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.  Pulling out beat just until soft peaks form when the beater is raised, or until if forms soft mounds when dropped from a spoon.

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(Rockefeller oysters)

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