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Jul 27, 2007 08:09 PM

Cake with Buttermilk

I am making a cake tomorrow for my father's birthday. The last 2 years I made his mother's spice cake with caramel frosting which he really likes. But I wanted to make a non-spice cake this year. I'd prefer a yellow over chocolate. I'm looking for one that uses buttermilk because the old recipes from his mother use those and I've found it makes a cake I like a lot.

Does anyone have an great cake recipe using buttermilk ? And a frostong to go with it?


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  1. Not sure if this is fancy enough, but many coffee cakes use buttermilk. My favorite is in the 2001 Cooking Light annual, instead of frosting you put an apple / almond (or blueberry almond) crumble topping.

    1. Here are a couple of good ones from Martha Stewart:

      1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake --

      Yellow Cake with Lemon Filling --

      2 Replies
        1. re: Nancy Berry

          Ina garten (barefoot contessa's) lemon and orange cakes use it too. may be able to find them online otherwise i've found her cookbooks well worth it.

          1. re: Candy

            Oh, this cake ! I 've made this a few times since I found the recipe and believe me, almost wept for how wonderful it was. Not what I needed today , although it was my first thought - went with the Martha Stewart and will see how that is tomorrow.
            But this choco bundt - THE BEST

          2. There's a butter cake with buttermilk in Ruth Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible. I believe it's baked in one layer, a 9 inch springform, if I remember correctly. I think you could pretty easily split the batter between two pans, though. Maybe even between two eight inch pans if you used magic-cake strips to keep them rising evenly. Then you could split the two eight inch layers to get a higher cake with more frosting or filling, which might look more like a bday cake. It's a great recipe, very delicate texture and yummy tangy flavor, which would go well with any not too sweet frosting, except chocolate might overpower it. I think she calls it Country Buttermilk Cake.

            5 Replies
            1. re: amyzan

              I was actually going to warn against this cake. I made it about a year ago, thinking it would be perfect to serve with strawberries and whipped cream. I found the cake dry and crumbly - just the opposite from what I expected. I may have somehow done the recipe a disservice in my attempt, but I don't think so. It definitely wasn't a keeper for me.

              1. re: Nyleve

                That's strange--did you use nonfat buttermilk or some fat other than butter perhaps? I've made it many times and never had it be dry. It is tender and will crumble easily. Many of her cakes are particularly tender crumbed, and do better with a crumb coat or a short stint in the fridge before frosting, just to firm up the outer cake.

                1. re: amyzan

                  I honestly can't say why it didn't turn out well for me. I guess I'd have to give it another try, just to figure it out. I used butter and the regular non-fat buttermilk available in the store. Followed recipe to a T (I always do with her recipes) but I wasn't all that impressed.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    Try using at least a lowfat buttermilk. I use Organic Valley or a regional brand, Anderson Erickson, and I've never had one of these turn out dry. It's a great cake for fresh summer fruit and whipped cream. My mother even likes it better than shortcake.

                    If it just plain doesn't work for you again, try the sour cream cake that Beranbaum uses for pineapple upside down cake. It's not as tangy, but has a similar tender crumb that goes well with fruit.

                    1. re: amyzan

                      Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure we have anything except the normal run-of-the-mill buttermilk available here in Nowhereville, Ontario. It's what I use anytime I need buttermilk and generally does the trick. At any rate, since the cake recipe also calls for the addition of butter, I would think that the small difference in butterfat content due to the buttermilk would have little or no effect on the end result. Total fat amount would be darn close to identical. Who knows? - really, it may just have been my baking method, or maybe I just didn't love that cake.

            2. Too bad chocolate isn't your first choice, because I have a wonderful, dense, chocolate torte that uses buttermilk. It came out of a kids' cookbook with recipes from around the world that my mom got us when my sister and I were just old enough to start cooking.