Buttermilk Cake With Strawberries And Lemon Curd
Don't you hate when a recipe just calls for 1 cup of buttermilk and you're stuck with an open carton with tons of buttermilk left to be used up? Sometimes I use dry buttermilk to avoid this problem, but there are certain recipes that I think come out better with real buttermilk. I wish I was better about thinking ahead and picking recipes that would use up all 4 cups of buttermilk in a carton, but I admit sometimes I just focus on the particular recipe I'm making. Most of the time any leftover buttermilk works its way into pancakes and waffles, but recently when I needed to use up some buttermilk, I tried a recipe for buttermilk cake.
As is typical with me, I couldn't simply make the cake though; I needed to pair it with something. The original recipe calls for Riesling poached pears and vanilla creme fraiche, but that seemed a little wintry to me, so I went with strawberries and lemon curd for a lighter, zippier pairing. I'm pretty sure this won't be the last dessert with lemon curd you'll see here. I've developed a slight obsession. I can't deny eating it with a spoon.
Buttermilk Cake With Strawberries And Lemon Curd (adapted from Food & Wine, February 2011)
2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
Strawberries, hulled and quartered, for serving
Lemon curd, for serving (recipe below)
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line it with a parchment circle, and butter the parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter with both sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the yolks, one at a time, beating well between additions.
Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
At low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and the buttermilk until almost blended.
With a rubber spatula, finish folding the mixture together just until smooth.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool completely.
Slice the cake, and serve it with strawberries and lemon curd.
Lemon Curd (adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon juice, butter, and heavy cream. Place the pan over medium-high heat, and bring the mixture to just under a boil.
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolk, and then whisk in the sugar until completely combined.
Remove the lemon juice mixture from the heat, and whisk a large spoonful of it into the sugar-egg mixture.
Continue whisking in one spoonful of hot liquid at a time (this is called tempering) until you have whisked in all of it.
Pour the contents of the bowl into the saucepan, and set it over medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until mixture thickens and coats the spoon. (You can pull the spoon out and carefully run your finger through it. If the trail holds, the curd is ready.)
Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
(If you want to try something interesting, take a little taste of the curd before and after the next step to see how the flavor gets elevated by the salt and vanilla -- this is something I learned at Flour.)
Whisk in the salt and vanilla.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressed against the surface of the curd, and refrigerate until cold, 1 to 2 hours. (The curd can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.)
The sweet, tangy lemon curd and juicy strawberries were the perfect accompaniments to the mild, moist cake. For a little something extra, we pulled out the iSi whipper and made some whipped cream too.
What do you do with extra buttermilk?