A famous caterer once told me that if you offer a lemon dessert and a chocolate dessert, you will cover about 90% of dessert eaters. But what about that other 10%? You know, the ones who like a little fruit with their dessert? Well, as they say, “this one is for you”!
Buttermilk Spice Cake is one of those old fashioned desserts that has recently come back into fashion – spurred no doubt by the recent trend of adding what we usually consider to be savory spices to all manner of desserts. A few years ago, cutting edge pastry chefs started adding black pepper to strawberries, chiles with chocolate and sage with panna cotta. All this goes to prove is that what was old is new again – adding savory spices and herbs to sweet dishes was a common practice during medieval times and over time fell out of fashion. With with each new “resurrection” though dishes seem to take on a slightly new cast. For example this buttermilk cake is not slathered in a gooey and sweet frosting (not that I am against, gooey and sweet frosting mind you!). When thinking about this dessert though, I was after something a little bit “leaner” if you will – a little lighter with a cleaner, clearer taste. My thinking was that after a hearty dish like the Braised Provencale short ribs, dessert should be a little lighter. So, instead of a heavy frosting or glaze, I topped this with some sauteed apples and a little creme fraiche. The apples and creme fraiche don’t mask the flavors of the spices in the cake and provide just the right note of sweetness.
So, what desserts do you make and enjoy that use savory herbs and spices?? Post them here at the Table – I’d love to hear about them!!
Buttermilk Spice Cake
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground star anise
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or 1 3 inch piece vanilla bean, split
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup creme fraiche, stirred to loosen
1 .Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an flour a 9 inch springform pan and set aside.
2. Sift flours, baking soda and baking powder and all spices together. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated.
5. Beat in the vanilla.
6. Beat in the flour alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
7. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool cake and run a knife around the sides to loosen. Remove cake from pan.
- 3 – 4 large granny smith apples, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
1.In a large skillet, melt the butter with the sugar over low heat. Cook until sugar dissolves.
2. Add the apples and cook over medium heat until apples release their juices and become tender – approximately 10 -15 minutes.
Serve apples over slices of cake and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche.
This Week’s Menu
Buttermilk Spice Cake with Sauteed Apples and Creme Fraiche