Sunday, May 29, 2011

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

If you haven't noticed, I love taking something and making it "mini." Mini rhubarb pies, bread puddings, mini chicken pot pies, etc. It's not really because it's cute, it's more because I live alone and 75% of the meals I cook at home are just for me. I don't want a whole pie or cake sitting around for me to just pick at. My body, the way I want it to be, can't afford that so when I "mini" a recipe it's usually to have something that I can easily set aside, freeze back or easily cart around to my taste testers.

I also love buttermilk. Buttermilk pie is my absolute favorite pie, but also lemon buttermilk sorbet, buttermilk pancakes, soaking chicken in buttermilk before roasting... it's so wonderful and delicious and I'll reach for buttermilk much more often when I'm at the market over regular old (yucky) milk because I love doing so much more with it. And it goes so naturally with lemon that it's great for when the weather gets warm.

I saw an adaptation of this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and thought with just a few of my signature tweaks I could whip this up one evening and it would go so great with my recently homemade lemon curd in a cream cheese frosting. Of course I also love it because it's a baked good that I can play around with a little too. So here goes.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
1 c. flour- sifted twice
1 Tbl. corn meal- for a nice little crunch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.  baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1 large egg
1/2 c. well-shaken buttermilk
1 c. fresh strawberries, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter and flour cupcake pan
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light colored and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and mix until combined.

3. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into individual cupcake pans only to about 1/2 of the pan, as cake will rise. Scatter strawberries over top and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

4. Bake until cakes are golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Once completely cooled ice with lemon curd cream cheese frosting.

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