Friday, July 27, 2012

Gluten-Free Fruity Buttermilk Cake

Family birthday time again and I was taking ideas from the birthday boy. His one request was to have something accompanied by vanilla ice cream. The ice cream is a snap--I'll just make this recipe. As for the other part, I wanted something that makes the most of the summer fruits we can get at the farmers' market and that also does not overwhelm the vanilla ice cream. In addition, I've been craving cake. Thus began my search for a raspberry cake recipe that I could transform using my usual trick to a gluten-free version. I came up with the raspberry buttermilk cake from Epicurious. I did a test cake last weekend to rave reviews from everyone, so this week I will double the recipe to fit into a 9x13 inch glass baking dish (and I'll more than double the raspberries). Interestingly, my friend Stacey made a blueberry cake the same day using an old Fanny Farmer recipe that she said was nearly identical. Just goes to show that there are very few completely new innovations in cooking.

This cake can be made with nearly any kind of fruit and the flavoring options are endless. You could add lots of lemon zest and use a milk soured with lemon juice instead of buttermilk. I'm sure that any berry or berry combination would be great. It may even work with stone fruits like peaches or nectarines (though the texture might be affected if they're really juicy). You could top it with cinnamon-sugar or oat-nut crumble. I love having an easy cake like this in my repertoire and suspect it will be in the rotation frequently, not least because it's as delicious for breakfast or tea time as it is for dessert.

My regular gluten-free flour substitution worked perfectly (and I forgot to add any xanthan gum, as per usual). I did some testing and now have weight equivalents for the flour mix and I also verified that one could use the GF mix gram for gram compared to wheat flour--no need to adjust the amount. I knew it worked from a volume perspective but was glad to see it would work going by weight, as well.

RICE FLOUR MIX (makes more than you will need for this recipe): 2 c. brown rice flour, 2/3 c. potato starch, 1/3 c. tapioca starch OR 282 g. brown rice flour, 98 g. potato starch, 36 g. tapioca starch

2 c. gluten-free flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (8 oz, 1/2 c.) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c. evaporated cane juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 c. buttermilk
3-4 c. fresh or thawed raspberries (or other berry or fruit)
2-3 TBSP coarse sugar such as Turbinado or Demerara, a cinnamon-sugar mix or 1 c. crumble topping

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F; make sure the rack is in the middle
  2. Butter and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan
  3. Stir together the dry ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy (you could use a mixer or food processor). Do not undermix--some Epicurious readers felt that the fruit was more likely to sink if the butter and sugar were not creamed well enough
  5. Add vanilla and then the eggs, pulsing to mix after each one
  6. Add the flour and the buttermilk in 3 stages, starting and ending with the flour. Mix well between each addition
  7. Spread batter in prepared baking pan and scatter fruit on top--the entire top of the cake should be well-covered for maximum tastiness
  8. Sprinkle with sugar or crumble mixture
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  10. Let cool on a rack and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired

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