What’s that you say? Christmas is nearly here and you don’t know what to serve on the blessed morning? My family’s made crepes for many years, and my husband’s family holds firm to the cinnamon roll. But both are fussy – yeast and multiple risings? Paper-thin pancakes that must be paid attention to at every moment? I’ll enjoy the labors of others, but if you, like me, need a lower-maintenance breakfast option, then this fits the bill. I made mine in muffin form a while back and they worked perfectly, but the directions below are for a coffee-cake style preparation. Gourmet originally came up with this, if you must know.
Best yet, you can use whatever berry you favor, and what with most grocery stores carrying an endless variety of frozen berries, you could even go wild and use several types. No need to shell out for fresh berries at this time of year since they’ll just be kind of gruesomely exploded in the end, if we’re being blunt (and we are almost always being blunt).
Buttermilk is surprisingly versatile if you need convincing to buy such a mysterious ingredient. Just search for buttermilk baked goods and behold the wonders. Also, add it to your mashed potatoes instead of all that sour cream and heavy cream and prepare to be amazed by the taste. If you either can’t find it or your fridge is just too full to support an extra half-gallon jug, you can make your own buttermilk (oh yes). Just add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk and let it sit until it gets buttermilk-y, about 10 minutes. Magic!
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup raspberries
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Grease (or butter and flour if you are a masochist) a 9-inch round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a another bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and egg.
At low (so low) speed, mix in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Now you can either scatter your raspberries haphazardly over the top or place them precisely in rows (guess who felt the need for this, ahem) and sprinkle with another tablespoon or so of sugar.
Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Now turn it back onto a plate so it’s pretty-like. If you’re going the muffin route, I’d cut down the time a few minutes and check obsessively. Nobody likes a dried out muffin.
If I post again before Friday, it’ll be a minor miracle, so I’ll say Merry Christmas to y’all now. Merry Christmas!