Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
on Apr 04, 2019, Updated Jul 08, 2022
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Fresh or frozen berries work in this raspberry buttermilk cake. If you like an even balance of cake and fruit, then go frozen because they spread more. Fresh berries hold their shape and result in more cake.
You can also try baking this blackberry lemon cake.
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Buttermilk often lingers in my fridge. I use it in both scones and biscuits, but I never manage to polish off the entire carton. Yes, we always have the expected waffles or pancakes, but there are only so many meals where you can have breakfast for dinner or actual breakfast.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that buttermilk can be so much more than just for breakfast treats. It does magic to the crumb in cakes, especially in ones with fruit like berries. And of course, this pairing with buttermilk just makes sense.
But when it comes to dessert, I really have to be in the mood for something complicated like a layer cake that requires frosting. Most of the time I just want to dump the batter into the pan and be done with the prep.
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake: Fresh vs. Frozen Berries
This from-scratch cake really could not be any easier to make. It turns out far more impressive than the effort actually required to bake it. You can’t ask for much more.
It’s one of those simple fruity bakes that’s always good to have around because it’s appropriate for dessert, brunch or afternoon tea. And you have options when it comes to the berries.
The first time I made this cake, I used fresh raspberries. As the cake rose, only a few berries were left peaking out by the time it was finished. So I was curious what would happen if I used frozen raspberries the next time. Would there be a major difference in how it turned out? Yes!
Frozen berries are so much more convenient than fresh. They stay good longer and are flash frozen at peak ripeness. Plus I always have them in my freezer. Also, I don’t have to be so strict with the seasons.
Baking with Frozen Berries
Frozen berries are more likely to break apart or be in pieces than fresh ones. You might be able to see tiny puddles of pink—another clue about the final result—as the cake bakes. Baking with frozen berries in this cake is more likely to result in fruit in each bite. It is like a very, very rustic version of raspberry filling or raspberry puree.
I have to admit that I am always taken with streaks of berries and juices all over, so I prefer using frozen. Each slice is an irresistibly messy mix of cake and a sort of berry jam. Again, if I had to choose, I would vote frozen over fresh, but the cake is good both ways. It lets those tiny bits of frozen berries at the bottom of a bag shine because they naturally find themselves all over the cake.
It just depends if you like a more even balance of cake and fruit, then go frozen. If you like more cake and less fruit, then use fresh.
This is what you need for the recipe:
- Raspberries: As I mentioned, fresh or frozen berries will work in this recipe. Frozen will spread more and be jammier throughout the cake.
- Buttermilk: The cultures in buttermilk make it more tangy and acidic as well as thicker than regular milk. As a result, the cake crumb is more tender.
- Butter: The unsalted butter should be room temperature soft. Take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on your kitchen counter before you start baking. If you forget, you can grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater, so it’s in smaller pieces that will soften faster. This is a trick I use when I make cookies.
- Sugar: The cake is sweetened with granulated sugar, and the top is sprinkled with it too.
- Egg: The recipe requires 1 large egg.
- Vanilla extract: To bring out that buttery vanilla flavor, I add pure vanilla extract.
- Flour: The cake uses all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder: For rising, the cake has baking powder and baking soda.
- Baking soda: The acidity in the buttermilk activates the baking soda.
- Salt: A touch of salt brings out flavor even in baked goods.
- Non-sticking cooking spray: This is an easy way to grease the pan.
How To Make A Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a round 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar. Give them enough time, so they turn pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until fully combined with the butter and sugar.
- Mix in the flour mixture and buttermilk. On low speed, add the flour in three batches alternating with the buttermilk. Be careful not to overmix.
- Spread the batter into the pan.
- Scatter the berries across the top and dust with sugar. If you use frozen raspberries they will in smaller and more broken pieces than fresh whole berries. At that moment it will give you a hint of how the cake will look.
- Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes. The top will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it and letting it cool on a wire rack. It helps to run a paring knife around the sides of the cake before flipping onto the rack.
- Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.
The tastes from the tang of the buttermilk and the berries in the vanilla cake balance out the sweetness. That’s why it feels appropriate no matter the time of the day when you’re looking for a touch of something sweet.
If you want to dress it up, you can present it on a cake stand or keep it more casual on a plate. For a final detail, a light dusting of powdered sugar would look lovely too.
The cake is best eaten in 2-3 days. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Fruit desserts do not last as long as others because of the moisture in the berries.
If you want to save the cake longer, you can store it in the freezer wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Thaw it at room temperature.
More Berry Recipes
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
- Non-sticking cooking spray
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- On low speed, add the flour in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan smoothing into an even layer with a spatula. Place the raspberries on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
- Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.