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Very Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Everyone loves lemons, and this cake has lemon at every level! It’s tangy, sweet and moreish.

This is another buttermilk cake. I find using buttermilk gives cakes and pastries a depth of flavour and better keeping qualities. I’m a big fan.

This is a pretty large cake, for making in a large bundt tin, or large round cake tin or fancy rose Nordic Ware mold as I did. If you wanted to downsize for a 20 or 21 or 22cm cake tin, just halve the ingredients. ( For the eggs, use 3).

It’s a great cake so try making it in bundt tin at least, to make it special. Oh, for the photos I added a few “little roses” to the big one. These are also Nordic Ware molds. The recipe for these little cakes is here.

Ingredients

Cake

250g butter

300g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1

5 large free-range eggs

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

300mls buttermilk

Lemon drizzle

Juice of 1 lemon

50g water

75g caster sugar

Icing

Juice of 1/2 lemon

200g icing sugar or enough icing sugar to make a dripping icing

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Lightly grease the mold or cake tin with butter. Sprinkle with flour to evenly coat. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cream the butter and sugar well in an electric mixer, on medium speed. Add in the vanilla extract and the lemon zest and juice and mix on medium until combined.

Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and buttermilk and mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared mold/tin. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil for the remainder of the bake.

While the cake is baking, make the drizzle by combining the lemon juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove the cake from the oven. Pierce the top with a skewer and drizzle half the lemon drizzle over the top. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Release from the mold or tin onto a wire rack. Turn right side up onto a serving plate. Paint the cake with the remainder of the lemon drizzle with a pastry brush.

To make the icing, mix the lemon juice with the icing sugar to make a drippable icing.

When the cake is completely cold, drip the lemon icing over the cake – no need to be too precise!

It’s a moist cake so it’s great on its own, but serving with a dollop of cream wouldn’t be amiss either!

Passionfruit Mini Cakes

These little cakes are full of passionfruit in the cake mix and in the icing. I love the fragrance and flavour of passionfruit. I will buy them up while cheap and freeze the pulp – great when I want to make a passionfruit sponge or these little cakes!

Cooking with buttermilk gives a great flavour to cakes so that’s what I used here. You can make cheat’s buttermilk if you haven’t any on hand by simply adding lemon juice or vinegar to milk, or even lime juice. You now have a pretty good substitute!

Here is the recipe for these passionfruit mini cakes. You can make them in fancy molds as I did or make them in an ordinary muffin tin.

Ingredients

Cakes

200g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

125mls buttermilk 0r cheat’s buttermilk ( I added the juice of half a lime to regular milk)

Pulp from 4 passionfruit

Passionfruit Icing

250g icing sugar, sifted

Pulp from 2 passionfruit + 1 passionfruit for the optional fondant icing

1 tbs passionfruit fondant creme (optional)

Method

Cakes

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees non fan forced.

You can make this little cakes in any fancy molds you have on hand. The cakes pictured were baked in my Silverwood three tier muffin molds. I buttered and floured these molds. You can use any standard 12 cup muffin tin. Line the muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the pasionfruit pulp in a food processor and blitz till smooth.  Stir the passionfruit pulp into the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the molds or paper cases. If you’re using fancy molds like mine you will get 6 sizeable cakes. Using a regular muffin tin,  you will get 8-12 cakes, depending on how big you want them.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and golden on top. Check after 15 minutes, by seeing if a skewer inserted comes out clean. They may need a couple of minutes longer.

Cool the cakes in their molds or muffin tin for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from the molds or muffin tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Ice with a generous amount of passionfruit icing, letting it drip down the sides of the cakes.

Passionfruit Icing

In a bowl, mix together the icing sugar and passionfruit pulp and beat well. If the icing is too soft, or runny, then add more icing sugar to get the desired consistency.

Optional –  I mixed a tablespoon of passionfruit fondant creme (warmed gently in the microwave for a minute or two) with the pulp of 1 passionfruit. This made a very yellow icing which I drizzled on top of of the other icing. More for effect than anything else!

Crumpets!

I have been making crumpets this week. They are such a great breakfast staple and a lovely afternoon tea treat.

I used my buttermilk crumpets recipe as I had some beautiful buttermilk from Pepe Saya, the Australian experts on all things dairy cultured! The link to their website is here.

So I thought I would revisit that recipe as well as my sourdough crumpets recipe. The buttermilk recipe is very easy to do as it uses commercial yeast. The sourdough recipe is fantastic, but you do need a sourdough starter on hand.

So here are the links to both recipes.

Buttermilk crumpets: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2018/11/17/buttermilk-crumpets-for-breakfast/

Sourdough crumpets: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2020/01/16/sourdough-starter-crumpets/

Buttermilk Pancakes for Breakfast!

When I first started this blog in 2013, I was keen to post lots of different culinary experiences as well as my own cooking efforts. So writing up a great meal is obligatory!

We had a memorable breakfast back then, cooked in the beautiful Hunter Valley, one of the best wine districts in NSW, if not in Australia, on a weekend retreat.

The brekkie was cooked by “the doctors”, two of my oldest and dearest friends. They cooked Bill Granger’s buttermilk pancakes and French toast, and the link to that post is here.

Here we are in 2018 and the doctors have done it again, cooking Bill’s buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, this time in Terrigal, a beachside locality on the central coast of NSW. The doctors have wisely decided to make Terrigal their other home, and we were lucky enough to have a relaxing weekend at their new abode.

Doctor B served the pancakes with fresh fruit, mango yoghurt and lashings of maple syrup.  I probably shouldn’t have, but I just needed to add a spoonful of Nutella…

Ingredients
250g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
750 ml buttermilk
75g unsalted butter, melted
Unsalted butter, extra, for greasing the pan

Method
Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
Add the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter and whisk to combine.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush a small portion of butter over the base.
For each pancake, ladle 1/3 cup of batter into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface.
Turn the pancakes over and cook for another minute.
Transfer to a plate and keep warm while cooking the rest of the pancakes.

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

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I have just discovered the secret to great muffins – keeping the mixture in the fridge overnight or longer before baking. Matt Stone in his fabulous book “The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste” gives this tip in his recipe for Greenhouse Muffins, which I recently wrote up in a post, see here. This trick of leaving the mixture in the fridge definitely gives the muffins their gorgeous flavour.

My other discovery came about when I realised that I didn’t have any buttermilk. You just add lemon juice to milk to create the separation process. So easy!

My recipe uses ground cinnamon and cinnamon honey. I bought this honey made by Beelish Honey (http://www.beelish.com.au/) at a hand-made market in the Hunter Valley recently.  It has an unusual strong cinnamon flavour. You can just use ordinary honey instead and maybe add a little more cinnamon to the mixture.

Ingredients
1 Granny Smith apple or similar tart apple
150 gms self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
50 gms almond meal
50 gms rolled oats
75 gms dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50 gms melted butter
1 egg, beaten
225 mls buttermilk or semi-skimmed milk with the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cinnamon honey or ordinary honey
2 handfuls sour cherries or cranberries or raisins

Crumble topping
50g cold butter
70g plain flour
50g rolled oats
3 tsp honey

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a 6 cup muffin tin with muffin papers or grease muffin pan.
Mix flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda, almond meal, rolled oats, dark brown sugar and ground cinnamon in a large bowl.
Combine melted butter, egg, buttermilk, vanilla paste and cinnamon honey or ordinary honey in another bowl.
Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
Fold in the chopped apple and cherries or other dried fruit. Ideally, if you can, leave the muffin mixture overnight for the flavours to develop. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge.                                                                                   Fill the 6 muffin cup muffin tin with the mixture.
For the crumble topping, place the cold butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. Add the oats, mix well, then mix in the honey. Cover the top of the muffins with the crumbly topping mixture.
Bake for about 25-35 minutes in the preheated oven. Check after 25 minutes with the skewer test, but they will probably need a further 5 -10 minutes. These are quite big muffins and need decent cooking time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Serve with lashing of butter and maybe a little honey!

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Plum and Cranberry Soda Bread Muffins

 

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I wasn’t quite sure what to call these muffins! They are inspired by the recipe for Irish soda bread but, like all good muffins, are fruit filled and quite moist.

They came about when I was researching soda bread and found this great recipe from Jack Monroe for Rhubarb and Ginger Soda Bread from her blog Cooking on a Bootstrap. I was very impressed with her helpful suggestion about how to make a buttermilk substitute, by adding lemon juice to ordinary milk. I also liked that she added rhubarb to the traditional soda bread recipe.

So I decided to make muffins, using the main ingredients for soda bread – flour, bi-carb and lemon juice soured milk as the buttermilk substitute. I added an egg, as muffin recipes really need that enrichment.

My recipe has both fresh fruit and dried fruit. I think both are good – I suggest you go with whatever is seasonal for the fresh fruit, and any fried fruit would work well.

These muffins have no butter or oil, so are quite healthy. You could cut right down on the sugar if you really wanted a super-good-for-you muffin.

The result was moist, full of gorgeous spices and delicious on its own. A little yoghurt with the muffin would be nice, or even butter…!

Ingredients

200mls semi-skimmed milk
Juice of half a lemon
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 free-range egg lightly beaten
3 plums (chopped) or any other stone fruit or other fruit such as apples or pears
2 tbls dried cranberries or other dried fruit
100gms brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Demerara sugar for sprinkling.

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Line 6 silicon muffin moulds with muffin papers. If you don’t have these moulds, use an ordinary 6 hole muffin tin. Or you can use a smaller 12 cup muffin tin for daintier muffins.
Pour the milk into a jug or a cup and squeeze in the lemon juice. Leave to stand for a minute or two to allow the milk to curdle. Add the beaten egg.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and bicarb and briefly mix through. Add the chopped plums, with the dried cranberries. Stir in the sugar and spices.
Make a well in the centre of the flour/fruit ingredients and pour in the curdled milk, lemon and egg mixture.
Stir together, remembering not to overmix as muffins definitely need only rough mixing.
Spoon the mixture into muffin cases in your moulds or tin. Just before putting into the oven, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with demerara sugar for added crunch.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm on their own or with yogurt or butter.

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Baked Buttermilk Doughnuts

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I love the idea of these doughnuts because they are baked, not deep fried. I made them for Easter this year, as a change from hot cross buns. The recipe is from delicious. magazine, April 2015.

The baked doughnuts are dipped in cinnamon sugar and then in a rich chocolate sauce. I think I preferred them just sugar dipped  – that was sweet enough for me.

They end up more like a sweet bun than a traditional doughnut – there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you are hanging out for that “doughnut” taste.

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Ingredients

2.5 tsps instant yeast

1/4 cup milk, warmed

2/3 cup caster sugar

3 1/4 cups plain flour

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 egg lightly beaten

40g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For dipping:

2 tsps ground cinnamon

2/3 cup caster sugar

Chocolate glaze:

100mls milk

200gms dark chocolate

1 tbls caster sugar

Extra milk for brushing

Method

Combine yeast and warm milk with a pinch of sugar in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy. Combine the flour and remaining sugar with a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Gradually add the yeast mixture, buttermilk, egg and butter, and knead on low speed for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for  1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knock down. Roll into a sausage and cut into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Divide between 2 baking trays lined with baking paper. Lightly flatten each ball into disc. Using a round cutter, cut out the centre of each ball. You can bake the centres as “additional” doughnut balls on the trays as well. Cover the baking trays with cling film and set aside in a warm place for a further 1 hour or until risen.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the doughnuts one tray at a time for 8-9 minutes or until light golden. Remove from the oven and move to a wire rack to cool slightly.

For the glaze, combine milk, chocolate and sugar in heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted and combined.  remove from heat and cool slightly.

Brush doughnuts with the extra milk. Toss the doughnuts in the sugar mixture, then dip the tops in the chocolate glaze.

Irish Soda Bread with Black Treacle

I love the idea of bread that can me made from scratch in under an hour! No yeast, no rising, and a delicious nutty, malty flavour.

I researched Irish soda bread online, and discovered that the only essential ingredients are flour, bi-carbonate of soda, buttermilk and salt.

Here is a helpful website aptly named –  Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread: http://www.sodabread.info/

In my recipe I have added a tablespoon of black treacle, to give a little sweetness and that malty flavour. Quite by accident I neglected to add the treacle to the buttermilk before adding to the dry ingredients, so I mixed it into the dough after the addition of the buttermilk. This gave a lovely streaked effect to the baked bread!

Ingredients
340g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ -1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
290mls buttermilk
1 tbls black treacle

Method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Place flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.

Make a well in the centre of the mixture, and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)

Stir in treacle, and mix well, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

Form into a round then place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

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Serve with lashings of butter, jam or golden syrup!

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