Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What To Do With Buttermilk

I am consistently baffled by the fact that buttermilk seems to be sold almost exclusively in quart-sized cartons. I can't think of one recipe that calls for more than a cup of it (if you are making normal, residence-sized quantities of course) and yet I'm always forced to buy four times that amount at the grocery store.

So, unsurprisingly, after making Smitten Kitchen's buttermilk dressing last week, I was left with the better part of a carton and, loathe to waste a thing, spent the better part of a day casting about for a recipe to use it in. I was in the mood for tea cake (it's a rare occasion that I am not) so focused my efforts there.

Clotilde's yogurt cake is my favorite low-guilt cake recipe (by low-guilt I mean butter and frosting free, and defensibly eaten in the afternoon) so I started there. I replaced a few ingredients (buttermilk in place of yogurt for one), added a few ingredients (inspired by a recent recipe in Gourmet Magazine that incorporated raspberries into a similar cake I did the same) and in honor of my whole grain loving father, threw in some rye flour for a little intrigue.

And I must say, the cake fit the bill perfectly. Light, not a hint of grease, and tartness of the raspberries (which, conveniently enough, were on sale at Citarella) provided the ideal counterpoint to the sweetness of the cake.
Sadly, as it turns out, I'm incapable of taking an attractive photo of a piece of cake, so you'll just have to take me at my word on this one. It was good. Very good. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my remaining 2 cups of buttermilk.

Buttermilk Cake With Berries

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rum
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup white all purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
scrape of nutmeg to taste
1/2 pint of raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake tin, springform if available and set aside.

Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, sugar, oil, rum and vanilla. Sift white and rye flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in thirds, whisking until smooth between each addition. Pour half of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place raspberries evenly over the batter, pour remaining half of the batter into the pan and even out the top with a spatula.

Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

And don't forget pancakes!
Of course, here in the South, we would use the leftovers for cornbread!!

Thanks for your visit today. You're welcome over at our place anytime. You've created a lovely blog here...I know I shall return!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh of course! Cornbread...how on earth could I have overlooked that one?!

Susan's Snippets said...

Laura -

Thanks for the post over at Susan's Snippets...and, BTW the chicken wing is truly just the tip of the "somebody(ies) is/are slobs and think that others should clean up after them" bathroom antics in my office building.

But as far as buttermilk goes...while I was growing up my Momma would drink it and I must admit it takes a little getting use to...but once you do...it is almost tasty.

dont wastey

Terry B said...

Another great use of buttermilk is in mashed potatoes. It gives them a nice [but subtle] tang and liveliness. I also find I can use less butter when I add buttermilk. And if you're not totally baked out, you can always use some of your extra buttermilk in this at least semi-healthy lemon flaxseed cake.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Terry - That looks great, I'm the hugest fan of flax seed (and of olive oil in cake) so you are most definitely singing my song with that one! And conveniently I've got a bunch of potatoes sitting on my counter...serendipity if I've ever seen it.

the sweet life with olives said...

i love buttermilk... being from the south it was a staple growing up. here in italy it's harder to find. i found an article that suggested making your own from lemon juice and milk. the results were good, but I also started using Keifer 'milk' and i must say the results are even better. great for lemon, buttermilk ricotta pancakes with strawberry topping. yum!

Giovanna said...

Okay, unoriginal...but I love drinking buttermilk. Just straight--especially good in hot weather!

Also, buttermilk soup is one of our favorite hot weather suppers...here's a link to my post about it, with recipe...

Cindy said...

That cake looks delicious. I also use up buttermilk by marinating chicken in it. I add a few dashes of Tabasco and the coat in bread crumbs and bake in the oven. Not quite fried chicken but minus most of the fat.

This Way and That said...

I'm hungry for cake now.

I can't imagine not having a quart of buttermilk at all times.

Next time you have some frozen chicken tenderloins around the house, let them defrost, then dip in buttermilk (I use the extra rich variety). Dredge in flour and fry. You will be amazed at the difference in the chicken. If I want to fry okra, I also dowse a bit of buttermilk over the okra (while it is still icy) and then dredge in a flour meal mixture. My relatives always begged for me to bring okra to the reunions. Just try not to over "stir" when flipping it. As you see the edges from underneath getting brown, carefully a wide spatula full of the okra (keeping it mostly in one piece). A bit like flipping a pancake (except you'll have to flip about 3 or 4 sections of the skillet at a time). Fry in peanut oil if you want super crisp okra. Let this side brown fairly well........then it is usually crisp enough to turn easily without being as careful. I imagine most folks don't fry as must as in the South.
Anyway, biscuits are always made with buttermilk too. I've even put it in cream cheese frosting, instead of regular milk to thin it.
My daughter and I eat buttermilk and cornbread in a glass. But we can't get within a mile of my husband. He detests it, unless I have put it in a recipe.

Buttermilk is one of those things that you either love or hate. I love it.

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