take the cake: coffee chiffon cake and buttermilk country cake

Today I had two reasons for baking. We had a dinner invitation and it was my sister-in-law’s anniversary. For the invitation, I made my mother-in-law’s coffee chiffon cake, a family favorite, and spread a chocolate ganache on top. I made the ganache from a dessert chocolate bar given to me by my friend Thavida,  and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips to make up the difference. So smooth and rich!

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For the anniversary cake, I made a buttermilk country cake adapted from a recipe in The Cake Bible. In the book is an absolutely mouthwatering picture of a country cake with a fat mound of crème fraîche and sliced peaches on top. Alas, there are no peaches in Bangkok. So, for my version, I used fresh whipped cream and chopped fresh mango.

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I’m so tired I can hardly stay awake! Tomorrow I will post the recipes.

strawberry buttermilk country cake

strawberry buttermilk country cake

When I first made a Buttermilk Country Cake, it came with a very unique method. The butter was added to the dry ingredients and the  wet ingredients were added to the butter-flour mixture.  I never had much success with this method so I’ve adapted the method to the more traditional one where the butter and sugar are creamed together. This cake turned out so yummy, so moist and tender. In this iteration of the Country Cake,  there is no buttermilk because I used sour milk. I also added strawberries to the batter. Of course, the fruit can be added last on top of a layer of creme fraiche, too.

Strawberry Buttermilk Country Cake (adapted from: The Cake Bible).

Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

Have at room temperature:
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk (I used sour milk: 1 tablespoon vinegar in a measuring cup topped with milk to 1 cup line. Pour off 1/3 of the milk. I’ve never found a recipe for 2/3 cup sour milk!)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted cake flour (1 1/2 cups all purpose plus 4 tablespoons cornstarch)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of strawberries, trimmed and sliced

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and mix in 1 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: If your pan has a dark nonstick finish, reduce the heat to 325˚F and test cake  after 25 minutes.

In a medium bowl, lightly combine egg yolks, buttermilk or sour milk, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk flour mixture to combine. To a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour mixture in three additions alternating with the yolk mixture in two batches. Beat until just incorporated, scraping down the sides after each addition.

Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter half the strawberries on top. Scrape the remaining batter on top. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula. The pan will be 1/2 full. Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate air bubbles. Lightly press the remaining strawberries into the top of the batter. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cake Baker’s Note: Hmm. The strawberries sank to the bottom. I read somewhere that if you lightly dust the strawberries with flour they won’t sink… Must try that sometime.

Cool cake in the pan on a rack 10 minutes. Loosen the sides and invert onto a greased wire rack. Remove paper circle and re-invert to cool completely. In my oven, the cake required the full 40 minutes.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar, if you like. If desired, omit strawberries and top with crème fraîche and sliced peaches, strawberries, or bananas. Dip one side of cut fruit in lemon or lime juice to prevent browning. Place un-dipped side down on top of the crème fraîche.

strawberry buttermilk country cake