Raspberry "Buttermilk" Cake

August 27, 2011

[donotprint]All summer long I have been buying basket after basket of berries with the intention of making delicious desserts with them. Without fail it seems like by the time I turn around they are gone, eaten before I can do anything with them. And I am as much to blame as anyone else in my family. I can’t help it. With fruit this good it almost seems a shame to do anything more with them than just eat them straight or add them to my morning yogurt.

But the one thing I have been itching to make is a lemony buttermilk cake surrounding fresh delicious berries. I finally made it a few weeks ago. I started mixing up the batter almost as soon as I got home from the farmers market, in order to guarantee that the berries wouldn’t disappear again before I could make the cake. The cake tasted exactly as good as I imagined it would. Tangy raspberries perfectly offset by the sweet, light lemony cake. This isn’t a fussy cake. It is an afternoon tea or causal brunch cake. Deliciously satisfying without being at all heavy. The way a summer cake should be.

In making this cake I used cultured coconut milk (it used to be called coconut kefir) in place of the buttermilk. It works great and I like to keep a bottle around for baking with, but feel free to substitute soy-milk curdled with a bit of lemon juice if you don’t happen to have the cultured coconut milk on hand.


Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Gourmet Magazine)

Makes one thin 9-inch cake, serves 6-8

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick (56 grams) margarine

2/3 cup (146 grams) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 

1 large (57 grams) egg

1/2 cup (118 ml) well-shaken cultured coconut milk (or soymilk curdled with 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a larger bowl, beat margarine and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top.

Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) 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 and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

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  1. Every time I see a recipe with buttermilk, I skip it, because I also bake only pareve. (Once a year for shavuos I break out the dairy equipment!) so I am so glad to see that you successfully bake with curdled soy milk. I will have to try this recipe!



  2. Cultured coconut milk? Wow . . . fabulous! You always know about such great pareve products. The cake looks delicious, but I also have the same problem of eating up the berries before I get a chance to bake with them. I’m already thinking ahead to plum cake, though.

    • I have heard that it works to curdle coconut milk with lemon, but I haven’t tried it. (The people from So Delicious told me that their coconut milk can be curdled with lemon juice but it is different than coconut milk from a can so I don’t know how that would come out.) I do know that soymilk really curdles and works great for buttermilk. I used that for years before switching to coconut kefir. Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 cup of soy milk and let it stand for 5 or so minutes until it curdles. Blueberries would be delicious in this cake! I recommend tossing them in a bit of flour before adding them to the cake if they were frozen so that they don’t bleed and make the whole thing purple.
      Chag Sameach!

  3. Well, I managed to find some “probiotic soymilk” whose first ingredient is cultured soymilk. So I’ll try it with that, to be (hopefully) closest to the original. It does have added fibre, which makes me nervous… hope it’s okay. Will definitely follow the blueberries tip, though!

  4. Well, I managed to find some “probiotic soymilk” whose first ingredient is cultured soymilk. So I’ll try it with that, to be (hopefully) closest to the original. It does have added fibre, which makes me nervous… hope it’s okay. Will definitely follow the blueberries tip, though!
    p.s. the recipe section could use a little formatting so the margarine and sugar are on their own lines. 🙂
    Good Yom Tov!

  5. Hi Shoshana,
    Just wondering if you could use So Delicious coconut milk yogurt as a buttermilk replacement (and if so, how much would I use?) as I can’t find cultured coconut milk on the net. Where do you get your product?
    Thanks. This recipe looks delicious!

    • I think that should work fine. Just thin it with a bit of non dairy milk so that it has the consistency of thick buttermilk. Soy milk curdled with a bit of lemon juice will work as well. I get the cultured coconut milk at Whole Foods in the dairy section, so keep an eye out for it.

  6. Am looking for Parve desserts that taste like dairy. My beloved Kosher bakery in NJ is no longer on my list of go to places due to their lack of sanitary conditions. Their bake goods used to be the best for decades, so if I can duplicate the taste at home, it would be wonderful.

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