Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

When Amy invited me for dinner and shared her plan to make Spring on Toast, I knew I needed to come up with a dessert that was equally seasonal. Well this Lemon Buttermilk Cake is a little ray of springtime sunshine.

Rich, dense, and moist, this not-too-sweet cake shines with the perfect amount of tang and zip from buttermilk and lemon. While the cake is lovely on its own, it begs to be smothered in berries and freshly whipped cream.

The husband and I have whipped cream in a can in our fridge at all times, but this cake calls for something special. Grab a carton of whipping cream at the grocery store and do it up right. If you haven't made your own whipped cream yet, don't be afraid! It's not difficult; you just need to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't turn into butter. (So don't turn on your mixer and go start a load of laundry.) And the ridiculously delicious flavor is absolutely worth the five minutes of effort.

When you're getting ready for your next Spring gathering (Easter, perhaps?), let this Lemon Buttermilk Cake be the star of your menu.

Let's get cooking!

Lemon Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Real Simple and this Lemon Pound Cake

2 cups flour, plus extra for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lightly sweetened berries, for serving
Whipped Cream, for serving (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk everything together.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Serve with lightly sweetened berries and whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the bowl of your electric mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for about 10 minutes. (This will help your cream whip up more easily.) Add whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to the cold bowl. Turn the mixer to medium speed until the cream starts to get a bit bubbly, about 1 minute. Crank up the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 1-3 minutes longer.

Heads-up: Be careful not to whip the cream too much or it will actually turn into butter. And, yes, I did learn this the hard way.

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