buttermilk country cake with whipped cream and mango

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It has become so cool here in Bangkok in the early morning that the mosquitoes have come out in droves searching for a warm blooded meal. And I’m their target. So much for a good night’s sleep! Now, what can I say about this cake? Like all of Rose Berenbaum’s recipes in The Cake Bible, where this one is from, the measurements are exact and the method is unique. Instead of creaming butter with sugar, you are directed to mix all the dry ingredients first then mix them with the wet. I did make some notes to the method though (see the Cake Baker’s Notes). If you’ve been following my blog, then you’ll know that I’ve become a convert to the baking-by-weight method, so though I’ve included the measurements by volume, I strongly recommend weighing the ingredients on a kitchen scale. Here’s the buttermilk (sour milk, actually) country cake recipe, with some small adaptations. This is Thailand after all, and fresh mango is an integral part of desserts here.

Have at room temperature:
4 (74g) large egg yolks
2/3 (160g) cup buttermilk (OR: 1 tablespoon vinegar in a measuring cup topped with milk to 1 cup line)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 (200g) cups sifted cake flour (sift then measure)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (200g) cup superfine sugar
8 (113g) tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and mix in 1/2 tablespoon flour. Use this butter-flour mixture to grease one 9×2 inch spring form cake pan, bottom lined with waxed paper, then greased again.

Cake Baker’s Note: I used an 8×3 inch spring form pan. If your pan has a dark nonstick finish, reduce the heat to 325˚F.

In a medium bowl, lightly combine egg yolks, 1/4 of the buttermilk or sour milk, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk flour mixture to combine. Add the butter and remaining buttermilk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed on a hand held mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula. The pan will be 1/2 full.

Cake Baker’s Note: The batter did not fill even 1/2 of the pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cake Baker’s Note: If your pan has a dark nonstick finish, test the cake after 25 minutes. In my aluminum 8×3 inch pan, the cake took 45 minutes to bake.

Cool cake in the pan on a rack 10 minutes. Loosen the sides and invert onto a wire rack. Remove paper circle and re-invert to cool completely.

Before serving, trim the dome off the top of the cake to level it. Whip 1 cup of cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar. For best results, chill the bowl and beaters for about 1/2 hour before using. When the cream forms stiff peaks, it is ready to spread. Spread whipped cream generously on top of the cake. I found that about 2/3 of the bowl will cover one 8×3 inch cake. Then I spread diced fresh mango on top of the whipped cream layer. Simply heavenly! I did not get to taste it before giving it away but I imagine eating this cake is like being in the tropics, where you become incredibly aware of intense flavors and textures: the sweet-tart mango, the delicate airy texture of cream, and the way the cake crumbles into moist perfect sweetness.

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