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Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

I was down in San Diego visiting my parents for Memorial Day weekend when this recipe showed up in my Google Reader. It was 9 at night and my parents, sister, and I were all sitting around watching TV, stuffed from dinner and a party earlier in the day. I made this cake thinking we would taste it before bed and eat some of it the next day.

Which we did. Actually, we finished it the next day. And made two more as well. Oh yes, it was that much of a hit! The second time around, I made it a lot healthier by making a few substitutions: I replaced the butter with applesauce (tablespoon for tablespoon), the sugar with Splenda, and the flour with whole wheat flour. And it still got two thumbs up from everyone! It’s light, moist, delicious, and incredibly simple to make.

Notes: Since I was baking at my parents’ house and didn’t have my cake pans, I used a pie pan and it turned out just fine. I also made my own buttermilk (using Lactaid!) by adding 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar to the 1/2 cup milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. And finally, you can substitute any berry you wish.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh strawberries (you can use any berry you want)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

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

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, 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 sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes (mine were all done in about 18 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 (I skipped this part and just cut, sliced, and served–much easier).

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen [1].