Buttermilk Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

A month or so ago I noticed a very interesting trend in blogging: the buttermilk cake. What is buttermilk cake, I had to ask? If The Vanilla Bean Blog and Nothing But Delicious were creating these gorgeous white cakes with original frostings, surely I must join in on the fun!

The perfect opportunity came last week when my friends Tracey and Tracy, who are married to each other (they kept their last names to avoid confusion) and having a baby girl in November, came for an overnight visit. Perhaps it's that I love them so. Perhaps it's that they're having a girl. Perhaps it's that I'm just tickled pink that Tracy and I have been friends for 40 years (holy shit cow!), but I just had to make a pink cake. And because we don't do artificial coloring in our house, I had to make it pink naturally. So...butter, sugar and raspberries!

Buttermilk cake, it turns out, is a delicious vanilla cake that is the most versatile cake I've ever made. Using buttermilk gives the body a nice, silky crumb and the flavor a tiny, almost imperceptible kick. (Not dissimilar to a lighter pound cake.) It would go perfectly well with caramel frosting, All-American Chocolate, or strawberries and cream. As I've mentioned, in this case we went pink with raspberries and it was divine. Adding a thin layer of lemon curd and another thin layer of seedless raspberry jam to the filling and we had the perfect, very sweet, feminine cake. While this one is perfect for a tea party or afternoon celebration, it's really great anytime and so, so pretty. Try it!



Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Nothing But Delicious 
1 C butter, at room temp
1-3/4 C sugar
3 C cake flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 large eggs, at room temp
2 t vanilla (or vanilla bean paste or the seeds from one vanilla bean)
1 C buttermilk (I used lowfat with great results)

Oven to 350. Butter and flour 3 9" cake pans and set them aside. 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and then lightly whisk them together to blend. 

In your stand mixer (or a separate bowl), cream the butter on its own first until it's fluffy and lighter in color than when you started. Then, with the mixer running, slowly pour in the sugar and beat 3-5 minutes more, until the mixture is almost white and very pillowy.Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating them fully and scraping the sides of your bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat quickly. 

Alternating in 3 separate turns, add the flour and mix fully, then buttermilk and mix fully and so on.

Pour the batter into your pans, evenly distributing (as best you can) and bake for 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool fully before frosting. 

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
1 C frozen raspberries, thawed
1 C unsalted butter, at room temp
5 C powdered sugar
1/2 t sea or kosher salt

Strain the raspberries so that no pulp nor seeds remain. 

Beat the butter on medium high until it's light and pillowy. Add the sugar in 2 batches, mixing thoroughly. Add the salt and mix quickly. With the mixer on, slowly drizzle the raspberry juice/seedless pulp and mix thoroughly. The coloration will vary depending upon how much raspberry you use and how deep the flavor of the berries.

To finish: using about 3T store bought or homemade lemon curd and 3T seedless raspberry jam, spread very thin layers of each onto the bottom layer of your cake and cover with buttercream. The fillings will blend a bit unless you freeze the cake between layers of filling, but I think a little blending never hurt anyone. Repeat this process on your second layer and then top with the third layer of cake. Frost fully and serve.
If your guests were anything like mine, this is what plates will look like within about 5 minutes. Hehe. 

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