With the warm undertone of hazelnuts from browned butter, the bright herbaceous note of fresh rosemary, and the comforting & familiar burst of summer blueberries, this is my new favorite cake. It has a brilliantly crunchy exterior (courtesy of a bit of olive oil), and a soft, buttery crumb. I’m a bit of a serial monogamist when it comes to cakes, I’ll admit. And this is my latest fling. Sorry white cake, sorry chocolate. This yellow cake has me rapt. A slice is most especially complete with a milky, hot cup of coffee or, on especially dogged days, of iced coffee.
Given my predisposition for all things local, for me that means a cup of Velo Coffee. They roast complex, full bodied blends—all sustainable & fair trade, naturally. They’re everything I’m for: family run and they deliver their coffee locally on bicycles (further increasing sustainability via fewer emissions). My favorites are their Ethiopian blend (a sweet, round coffee with notes of tamarind, lavender, and white grape) and their limited edition Black Label (an especially juicy, well-rounded coffee with a note of cinnamon buns), and their killer iced coffee concentrate. Which is some sort of deceptively delicious diesel fuel, my favorite way to start my day mixed with some Cruze Farms whole milk. We’re so fortunate to have them right here in Chattanooga, TN. But that’s changing, and they’re growing. All they need is to raise money for a new roaster to expand production. I’m hoping you’ll all join me in supporting their effort to grow beyond Chattanooga and share their coffee with the world. You can support their Kickstarter campaign and learn more here. Every little bit helps!
As regards this cake, it may be humble, but I can’t encourage you to make it strongly enough. With only 25 minutes of hands on time, it’s no more difficult than running to the store to buy a cake and ten times better. While it bakes, throw on a load of laundry, grab a shower, do the dishes, or just enjoy a quiet moment—with a book, with meditation, or with, I don’t know, Bejeweled on your phone. Whatever does it for you. I recommend the former two. But have a weakness for the latter. So, here’s the recipe for my favorite cake I’ve made this summer. And just in case…not confidant in your brown butter skills? Here’s an excellent guide from The Kitchn: Basic Techniques How to Brown Butter. I keep brown butter on hand in the fridge for baking, and you can make this ahead to cut down on time. And I’m one that likes the little brown bits; I don’t strain them out.
The top of the cake might prove to be your favorite part, it's deliciously crunchy against the soft interior. Feel free to vary the fruit and herbs. Try it with peaches or blackberries this time of year, and play with adding zests or essences like rosewater or orange blossom water. You can also make it with whole wheat, but use about 2 more tablespoons of buttermilk if you do. Now make this cake now! And invite friends & family to avoid killing the whole thing yourself.
188 g (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
113 grams (1 stick / a 1/2 cup) butter, browned & chilled until solid but soft
27 grams (about 2 tablespoons) olive oil
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
100 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
90 grams (6 tablespoons) buttermilk
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons buttermilk
120 grams (about 1 cup) powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350° F. Grease a 6-cup bundt pan well with butter, making sure to get every nook and cranny. If you'd like to use a 12-cup pan, just double the recipe. Alternately, you can use cooking spray (try to find a natural, propellent free oil-spray or make your own!) If using the latter, use right before filling the tin so the spray doesn’t pool at the bottom of your pan.
Weight the flour out into a small bowl. Add baking powder and salt. Sift the flour mixture into a medium bowl, dumping any salt that doesn’t make it through the sieve in at the end. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the solid brown butter, olive oil, and the brown & white sugar until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes, making sure to scrape the bowl down half way through.
When you’re finished creaming the butter and sugar, scrape the bowl yet again, and, with the mixer on low add the eggs one at a time, incorporated the first before adding the second. After the second egg is incorporated add the vanilla. Don't forget the vanilla! I always forget the vanilla.
With the mixer still on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk, alternating with the next 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk. Turn the mixer off and, using a rubber spatula (the one you've been scraping down your bowl with...because you have been scraping down your bowl, right?), mix in the last 1/3 of the flour mixture along with the rosemary by hand to prevent over mixing. Be sure to scrape the bottom! Gently fold in the blueberries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top, bang it against the counter 3-4 times to get rid of air bubbles, and bake at 350° F for 30-45 minutes (if doubling the recipe for a 12-cup bundt pan or if using a 6-cup bundt pan with no hole as I have here, increase cooking time to 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes and cover with foil after 45 minutes) or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Again, if at any point the top is a deep, golden brown, but then center is still not cooked, cover the top with tin foil and continue to bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake, and then invert onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Meanwhile, make your glaze. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and then whisk in the buttermilk. Set aside, whisking every so often to prevent drying out while the cake finishes cooling. Once the cake has reached room temperature, spoon the glaze over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Let glaze dry. Slice and enjoy with a cup of coffee!
This can easily be adapted for a bigger cake pan. For a 12 cup pan simply double all quantities and increase the bake time to 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes and cover the top with foil once it's deeply golden brown as is noted in the recipe.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
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