Buttermilk and vanilla cake with raspberries

Posted on: June 12th, 2011 by admin 2 Comments

I have a wonderful friend who brings me magazines as gifts.  Not your usual trashy mag’s mind you – they are always awesome ones, like Japanese Vogue, W and Australian Gourmet Traveller.  These gifts – especially food magazines- are endlessly enjoyed.  The spring copy of Australian Gourmet Traveller has fast become my favorite ‘cookbook’ full of amazing recipes from chef’s around the world along with stories that make you want to hop on a plane immediately.

Because it’s Sunday I always gravitate toward the oven and something to go along with a cup of tea.  AND I happened to have buttermilk in the fridge, which never happens.  I knew when I saw this recipe for buttermilk vanilla cake with raspberries, it had to be made.


  • 165 gm softened butter
  • 210 gm (1 c) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 200 gm (1 3/4 c) flour, sifted
  • 100 gm (3/4 c) self raising flour, sifted
  • (for US cake-bakers use 2 1/2 c flour (total) with 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
  • 235 ml buttermilk
  • a couple of punnets of raspberries (like I always say with berries go for your favorites, or what’s in season)

Vanilla Frosting

This swiss meringue style buttercream is incredibly tasty and well worth the beating effort.  It is also very stable, making it a great icing for cakes that are made for travel.

  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 175 gm (3/4 c + 1 Tbsp) caster sugar
  • 200 gm softened butter

Preheat the oven to 160ºC (320ºF) and grease a 22 cm x 22 cm (9 x 9 in) square cake pan.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and lemon zest.

Sieve the flours and bi-carb soda into a bowl with a pinch of salt.  Add half the mixture to the buttery one and mix gently, add half the buttermilk, mix again and repeat with the rest of the flour and buttermilk.   Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake until the cake is golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean, 35 – 45 minutes.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

(the only photo from the picnic! – so far away!!)

For the vanilla frosting:  Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk until frothy.  Meanwhile bring 80 ml of water and 150 g (3/4 c) of the sugar to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Gradually add the remaining sugar (15 gm/1 Tbsp) to the egg whites and whisk until soft glossy peaks form.  Continue cooking the syrup to soft ball stage (115ºC/239ºF around 5 minutes) and then remove from heat.  Gradually add the hot syrup to the whites while whisking continuously on medium speed, add the vanilla and whisk until cool and glossy (10 – 20 minutes).  Gradually add butter a little at a time whisking continuously until incorporated and smooth.  It is important that the meringue is completely cooled before the butter is added otherwise the butter will melt.  But you also don’t want to too cold or the butter won’t mix in properly and will look curdled.

If tea is not your cake accompaniment beverage of choice, try a perfumed pink moscato with this recipe.

This recipe is adapted from the Spring 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Song for this recipe:

“Golden Brown” – The Stranglers Golden Brown - Feline

Admittedly the Stranglers were singing about a different ‘golden brown’ than that of the perfect cake complexion.  And even after Guy Ritchie almost ruined this song for me (I’m not a fan of Jason Statham – except for when he was an Olympic diver) I love the late 70′s and a little harpsichord.

The Stanglers actually have a ton of great songs from over the years and I feel as though they are often forgotten, despite the fact that they are STILL performing (they began in 1974) with most of the original band intact, including outspoken drummer Jet Black. I like their early sound, driven by their melodic bassist and the use of keyboards, which were not fashionable at this time.  Try the albums, Feline, No more heroes or Dreamtime.


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2 Responses

  1. Joh S says:

    Hmmm who could this friend/s be?
    Also I don’t know why I’ve never commented on the song choices on here before but they are awesome. BEST food/ Music combos ever. better even than hot food/ cool jazz. a book I used to have about Mayalsian food and its jazz connections.
    I’m trying ‘Golden Brown’ out with Scone toast. Yes Scone toast. I BOUGHT it! Get it now from tip top in Australia…

  2. admin says:

    Scone toast? Bizarre, but I think it would work. I like both of them, but I can make scones pretty quick these days. I’m glad you’re enjoying or musical recommendations, we do think/research it a lot now, so it’s fun… xo

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