Baking with Buttermilk

SPLASH of Buttermilk A conversation with my mother the other day had her asking if I baked anymore in my quest for healthy.   Somehow that question led to a discussion about baking with buttermilk.  I somehow forgot the many times my...

SPLASH of Buttermilk
SPLASH of Buttermilk

A conversation with my mother the other day had her asking if I baked anymore in my quest for healthy.   Somehow that question led to a discussion about baking with buttermilk.  I somehow forgot the many times my mother’s baking requested buttermilk as a central ingredient and how we then searched  volumes of cookbooks or called friends and fellow cooks for suggestions of how to use the remains of this thick, rich ingredient for another sweet treat.  Not until I moved to the South did I know about the benefits of soaking your chicken in buttermilk in preparation of the fried chicken delicacy of this region.  But, that will be another blog.

Red Velvet Cake was a birthday favorite of my younger sister, and one recipe that called for this special ingredient.  Here is a recent blog highlighting this cake.

Another was a Heath Bar Cake but one I remember even more was the Crumb Cake that often used the very last of our buttermilk.  Simple ingredients, moist and very good.  The recipes are very similar.  The Heath Bar Cake topped with real whipped cream was a crowd favorite and requested for many covered dish events.

Here are two of the recipes that I remember best from my youth with the secret ingredient of buttermilk.

Crushed Health Bar Candy Bars
Crushed Health Bar Candy Bars

Heath Candy Bar Cake

Ingredients:

  • Heath Bar Cake
    Heath Bar Cake

    2 cups brown sugar

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup butter

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix the above ingredients like you were beginning a pastry dough.
  2. You are looking for small pea sizes of the butter surrounded by the flour and sugar.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of these “crumbs” for the topping of the cake.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions Continued:

  1. Mix these next four ingredients with the base created above in a standing mixer for best results.
  2. Pour into a 9 x 13 x 2 buttered and floured cake pan.

  • 6 full sized Health Candy Bars, crushed ( I can promise, we always started with more than 6 bars, and many candy bits were enjoyed in this crushing process).  It has been suggested that other candy bars could be substituted, but the toffee taste adds so much to this cake I would not consider a change.
  • ½ cup nuts, walnut, almonds or pecans can work. I prefer walnuts.  Of course, I toast my nuts first.

Final Directions:

  1. Crush six full sized Health Candy Bars  with a rolling pin or in a food processor.
  2. Do not crush too small so that you can enjoy the texture of the candy later.
  3. Sprinkle the chopped candy bar along with the nuts on top of the cake batter.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Cool in the cake pan.

Top with homemade whipped cream for a very decadent cake that is simple, moist and fabulous.  The candy bar chunks add unexpected texture and lots of flavor. Serve with a pot of fresh homemade coffee and enjoy!

Crumb Cake
Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

*** Blend these four ingredients like you were making a pastry dough.  Reserve 2/3 cup of this mixture for the crumb topping of this cake.

Add in:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. Add buttermilk, egg, baking soda and powder and vanilla to the remainder of the crumb mixture above. 
  2. Mix well. 
  3. Pour this cake mix into a buttered and floured  9 x 13 x 2 pan. 
  4. Topping this cake with the crumb mixture set aside earlier.   
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 35 minutes.

Two simple cakes that bring back many memories of baking with buttermilk from my youth.

What is your favorite use of buttermilk?