Posts Tagged ‘buttermilk country cake’

Meatless Monday: Blackberry Country Cake



BLackberry buttermilk cake recipe

Mildred Pierce and her lady pals knew whipping up a fruit-topped cake was no biggie, but most of us were born a generation or two away from women who baked cakes for afternoon coffee and weeknight desserts.  I learned only recently that there’s no magic to making a berry upside down cake.  All you need are fresh berries and a cake you love.  And this cake, I love.

You already have the recipe for Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Buttermilk Country Cake.  Words cannot express how soft and tender it is.  You should play around with it-lemon or orange zest are bright additions.  Or almond instead of vanilla extract.

Making a blackberry upside down cake, how to make an upside down cake

Yesterday morning, I buttered and floured my pan then filled it with a layer of fresh blackberries.  Then dolloped the batter on top and smoothed it out with a spatula.

blackberry buttermilk with powdered sugar

35 minutes in the oven, 10 minutes total work time.

last bites of blackberry country cake

Last bites.


Vineyard Wedding



Wedding decor, wedding table decor, flowers in mason jrs for weddings

Ranunculus, peonies and wildflowers in Mason jars at the tables

Happy Wednesday, loves.

As much as I already like today I wish I could rewind and go back to Friday night just before the start of the weekend festivities.  My brother married a lady we all love and their day was simply spectacular in that sun-dappled and love-filled California way.  My sister-in-law, Jenn, and wedding stylist Re Jin Lee (of Bailey Doesn’t Bark*) concocted one of the most beautiful events I’ve seen.  The natural setting alone enchanted us with its old oak trees and hanging moss.  Jenn and Re Jin Lee created a look that was rustic but clean, echoing the leafy green surrounds with dark wood and natural fabrics punctuated by lots of white, soft pink and unexpected pops of turquoise and sunshine yellow.

Here are some details for you.


Hanging Mason jar lanterns

Mason jar lanterns swaying in the Spanish Moss

Wedding greeting and guestbook table

Guest book table

The guest book and card catch were displayed alongside a black and white photo of the couple, a rustic wooden ledge, hydrangeas and wildflowers in antique jars and a vintage turquoise pitcher full of yellow pom poms.


Close-up of turquoise pitcher



Escort Cards

The escort cards were little Kraft paper flags planted in moss beds.


Rustic buffet

Cheese plate on a rustic tree stand

Waiters passed bruschetta and devils on horseback during cocktail hour and we nibbled off of this beautiful rustic buffet of charcuterie, cheese and fruit.  Mixing the occasional stump in in among traditional white platters keeps the look clean and elegant.


charcuterie platter

Cheese and charcuterie

Mixed platters showcase plump grapes and blackberries served with ribbons of cured meats.

Wedding decor, rustic wedding, dessert table for wedding

Friends put together a dessert buffet that included traditional Korean sweets, classic European pastries as well as old-fashioned American layer cakes (I had lemon coconut!).  All were plated on friends’ cake plates, 3-tiered serving dishes and in tall apothecary jars and clustered together so the table resembled a cake shop or Wayne Thiebaud’s work.  I couldn’t take my eyes off it.  Later, during dessert, waiters scooped rich gelato and sorbet so that both my brother’s (Italian) and his wife’s (Korean) heritages were represented.


burlap runner, long tables, wedding table decor

Long tables with burlap runners

You know we love a burlap runner.  The huge, dark farm tables looked beautiful out on the grass and marked off a perfect square for dancing.  Each mason jar had a different mix of ranunculus, peonies and wildflowers.


Hydrangea centerpiece

Hydrangea Centerpiece

A simple bouquet of fluffy hydrangeas centered each table.


wedding menu and placesetting

Menu and place setting

All the plates and napkins were white and the runners and menus were the same natural color for a cohesive, elegant look.

Each setting had a yellow pom which may have been my favorite touch.

The “feast” was served family style and included caprese and mixed green salads, followed by Parmesan risotto and a handmade pappardelle green with fresh herbs, then fillet of beef and roast salmon served with grilled zucchini and asparagus from the Lago Giuseppe garden.

I enjoyed the food so much I forgot to take pictures. Sorry!

Lago Giuseppe

The view from my seat.  Fairyland.

wedding cake on rustic wooden slice

Lastly, the cake.  What do you think?  It’s larger than the inspiration shot but we wanted enough to go around.  It was too dark to photograph when we cut it so I don’t have an inside shot of this particular cake.

Wedding cake slice

But here’s a slice from an earlier run-through.  All that’s missing is another inch-thick layer of vanilla buttercream all around.  The cake is Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Buttermilk country cake and the layers are a framboise mascarpone custard alternating with vanilla buttercream and fresh strawberries.  It’s not too sweet and both the cake and buttercream are light and tender with soft vanilla flavor.  Combined with the custard and fresh strawberries, the best I can liken it to is an airy berry shortcake with extra-decadent whipped cream.

Congratulations and much love to the beautiful couple!!



* You know what’s funny?  Lydia and I have both featured Bailey Doesn’t Bark on A & O (here and here), but we had no idea that the artist behind the brand is one of my sister-in-law’s dearest friends!  I thought Jenn had found Re Jin Lee here and she thought we highlighted her friend’s work in part because they are friends.  Nope, we just love Bailey Doesn’t Bark. xo


Buttermilk Country Cake


By Sarah Lagrotteria

I’ve been on a cake-baking kick these past few days because I only recently bought my own copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s seminal work The Cake Bible.  I tried a few recipes this weekend, but my favorite is this simple buttermilk cake.


It’s not much to look at, but it has the softest, most gently sweet crumb.  It’s delicious after dinner or to enjoy with friends and iced tea on a warm afternoon–nothing fancy, just a happy cake for a happy time.

I’ll share the recipe below, but first please indulge me and take a look at that Bonne Maman jar just to the right of the cake.  It’s filled with–get this–homemade creme fraiche.   As the name suggests, creme fraiche is French, a product that only recently began appearing anywhere but the most upscale gourmet food stores here in the states.  It’s thick like sour cream but less sour and, with a teaspoon of sugar, whips up into something thicker and far more luxurious than whipped cream.  Of all dairy products, it alone has that certain je ne sais quoi.

You can get it at Whole Foods or other stores, but I hit the dairy aisle this weekend and of course couldn’t remember why I was there, so I bought some yogurt and left.  When I realized what was missing, I remembered once seeing a recipe for creme fraiche that, insanely enough, called for leaving a mixture of heavy cream and buttermilk out overnight to thicken at –wait for it–70 degrees or above.  Eeew, I thought, but I mixed my dairy, covered the jar, jacked up the heat and in the morning, voila!

I was afraid to taste it.  My mom taught me to fear any and all dairy that isn’t straight from the fridge and it looked suspiciously like mayo, of which I am not a fan.

But finally I did and it was the real deal.  Really.  I’m not saying you should run home and make it yourself, but I’m glad I did.


Sorry for the bad image of the completed cake, but Lydia and I were having a little too much fun to remember the shot.  And yes, the cake was actually made this past weekend.  The summery-looking peaches are from Blum Ranch in Acton, CA which grows a variety that ripens later than most,  from August through the end of October.  These were the last of the bunch.

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Buttermilk Country Cake

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup buttermilk

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cake flour, sifted

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the overn to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper then butter again and flour.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks, 1/4 of the buttermilk and the vanilla until just combined.

In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to combine the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and remaining buttermilk and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Turn the speed to medium and beat for a minute and a half to develop the cake flour’s gluten which will give the cake its structure.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Continue mixing and add the egg mixture in three batches, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the cake with a spatula.  Bake until lightly golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean,about 30-40 minutes (mine took 35).  Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before inverting.  Because this cake is so soft, make sure to gently invert again, so that the top of the cake is facing upward, which will keep the cake from splitting.

Whip cream or creme fraiche with a teaspoon of sugar until fluffy.  Smooth a generous amount of  cream on top of the cooled cake and top with fresh fruit of choice.  I arranged peach slices into a circular pattern, but this cake would be wonderful topped with summer berries as soon as they’re back in season.