So last week before I fell ill, I veganized a buttermilk cake for a few reasons:
1. I had some leftover whipped topping that needed a use (aside from me shoveling it in my face with my hands).
2. I had leftover cashew cream that also needed a use.
3. Cake. Caaaaake.
I want to talk about buttermilk for a minute. It’s really easy to veganize – if you have soy creamer or homemade nut cream (made with a 1:1 ratio of water/nuts), just dilute it with a little bit of water and you’ll get this rich, thick milk very similar to dairy buttermilk. The finishing touch is to add a squeeze of lemon juice (I find it’s the most non-offensive acid) to the milk and let it curdle for a few minutes. It works really well in baking and it’s really simple.
I’ve also veganized buttermilk for recipes, using regular non-dairy milk with a squeeze of lemon, and the results are good, but for this recipe I wanted something more rich and luxurious. Soy creamers are available at most health food stores (and some big box stores around here carry them too!), and I’ve seen Mimicreme around too, which is an almond/cashew blend and a good alternative to soy.
Of course, making cashew cream is easy as pie – all you gotta do is blend 1 cup of cashews with 1 cup of water until relatively smooth, and then strain it with a strainer bag (or fine mesh sieve) for a really flawless cream. You can add a bit of sweetener to it and voila, your morning coffee has a new best friend! You can also dilute some of the cream with water to make a refreshing glass of non-dairy milk, or use it for creamy pasta sauces and soups. It’s so handy to have!
And of course, you can make cake. Because come on – cake.
Vegan Buttermilk Cake with Blackberries
Lightly adapted and veganized from Food and Wine magazine
Makes 1 9-inch cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
2/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons blended soft tofu or yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan buttermilk (about 1/3 cup cream with enough water to equal 1/2 cup, plus a squeeze of lemon)
1 cup blackberries, plus more for serving
Vegan whipped topping, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Rub margarine all along the inside of a 9-inch cake pan, and then sprinkle in some flour and shake around to coat. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the margarine with 2/3 cups of sugar until fluffy (a fork works fine). Then beat in the tofu and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and dry ingredients in 3 alternating batches, ending with the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overbeat!
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top. Scatter the blackberries across the top of the batter and lightly press them in. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar over the top of the cake. Bake for about 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
4. Let the cake sit in the pan on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes, and then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and more blackberries.
This cake was super easy to make, and was really elegant too. I shared some with coworkers and was met with a very enthusiastic response, especially toward the sugar baked on top. I had to agree – it added just a little bit of crunch and sparkle to an otherwise fairly ordinary (but awesome!) white cake. I highly recommend this one as a light summer treat, if you’re so inclined to turn on the oven.
And now I must spend some time memorizing some songs, since the summer is short and there is busking that needs to be done. A friend of mine named Jessica, a fellow music teacher and guitar player, has been so kind as to jam with me and learn a wide repertoire of music to grace downtown and the liquor stores with. Not only do I never see girls busking here, I typically don’t see much that’s musically interesting in my city. So we’re going to challenge the norm and hopefully make a few bucks while doing so. 🙂
With that said, happy Tuesday-ings!