Buttermilk Raspberry Cake

raspberry focaccia
It looks like raspberry focaccia, but it’s actually a moist buttermilk cake with a pleasant tartness from the raspberries and a slightly caramelized sugar crust. Don’t be put off by its humble appearance, it is a superhero in disguise. I ate half the cake all by myself, and it tastes just as good the next day!

I also tried to make a chocolate version by combining Smitten Kitchen’s Buttermilk Raspberry Cake with her Everyday Chocolate Cake, but alas, I still need to play with the chemistry of it. The rise in the chocolate version was more dramatic and rather than being studded with pretty red gems, the raspberries all sunk to the bottom. And the chocolate batter was no where as dark and glossy as I wanted.

To make buttermilk, Deb advises to add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, but since the recipe only calls for half a cup of milk, you can also add a teaspoon to that amount.

Since the cake was so moist, I had a slight problem removing the cake from the pan and lost a few chunks around the edges. In my second attempt, I placed a parchment paper round on the bottom of the pan and greased the whole thing. This was far more successful.

In other news, my digital scale from Amazon arrived on Friday and I love it! I love that the plastic cover doubles as a bowl, and it’s the perfect size for weighing out ingredients for single layer cakes and cookies. But it might be too small for bread or layered cakes. My only complaint is that you have to switch from pounds to grams with a switch on the bottom, instead of a button by the readout.

chocolate batter
Like Smitten Kitchen, I was bemused by the “scatter” instructions. Instead, I placed a handful of frozen raspberries, all hole-side up –like tiny fruit boats– about half an inch apart. First in rows marching across the pan and then I filled in the empty places.

Buttermilk Raspberry Cake

buttermilk batter
MAKES one thin 9-inch cake
ADAPTED from Smitten Kitchen
NOTES: If possible, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
INGREDIENTS
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
a little more than 1/2 cup (130 grams) plus a tablespoon of sugar to sprinkle on top
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large (57 grams) egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) well-shaken buttermilk (1/2 cup of milk with a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice)
a generous handful, 1/2 cup (3 ounces or 70 grams) fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Place a parchment paper round on the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan, and grease the paper and sides of the pan liberally with butter.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Pour batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Arrange raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

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