If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you know that I like to bake. I love to cook just as much, but when the weekend arrives, I like to pay special attention to baking. This last weekend was no exception, especially since I found some lovely raspberries at the farmers market on Sunday.
I visited the farmers market alone this weekend. Normally, Scott and I divide and conquer, but he had some paintings to finish, so I set out with my canvas bags and cash in hand. I took a little longer wandering around, smelling the produce, checking out the various dogs and their owners, and lingering around the Cajun band playing between vendor booths. The weather was absolutely gorgeous (we’ve been experiencing 100 + degree days for far too long) so I was in no rush to get back into air conditioning.
I knew I’d be baking this cake later on, so as I walked around I kept my eye out for fresh berries of some sort. I spied the ruby-red raspberries from quite a distance, and I headed straight for them. The price was a little steep for just a pint, but I knew that farm fresh berries far surpassed the sad, packaged-in-plastic berries I see in the grocery store. With a quick exchange of cash, they were mine.
This really is one of the easiest, most flexible cakes anyone can make. The cake itself is light, fluffy, and has just the right amount of tang from the buttermilk. The addition of fresh herbs and citrus zest make this the perfect summer celebration cake to enjoy with a glass of Prosecco or Rosé.
As I said, this cake is totally versatile. You can add whatever citrus zest you want, depending on the flavor profile you’re looking for. I added orange zest and fresh thyme, but this would be great with lemon basil and lemon zest. Not only are the herbs and zest flexible, but you can also substitute the fruit. I’ve made this before with a mixture of blackberries and blueberries, but you could also try stone fruit, such as apricots or plums. Delightful!
Buttermilk Cake with Raspberries and Thyme
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Special items: 9 – 10-inch springform pan, parchment paper, Pam for Baking spray (I use this because it’s easier and faster than butter)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cup cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for dusting pan
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons high-quality vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup (8 ounces) well-shaken buttermilk
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Position oven rack in middle position, place sheet pan on rack and preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut parchment round to fit inside of springform pan. Spray inside of pan with Pam for Baking spray, line pan with parchment paper, then spray paper. Dust bottom and sides with cake flour; tap out excess.
Arrange raspberries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 sugar.
Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat room temperature butter, fresh thyme, and 1 1/3 cups sugar at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce mixer speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Do not over-beat. Pour mixture over berries and smooth top.
Place springform pan on pre-heated sheet pan and bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then run a thin knife around edges to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto cake stand and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar and let cool completely.