When I saw Heidi’s gorgeous, raspberry-topped buttermilk cake photos, I knew immediately that I had to make the cake. I planned to make it this coming weekend, but once I’d purchased the raspberries, my mind kept gravitating to where the berries sat in the refrigerator. After a nap yesterday afternoon and a simple meal last night, I had the energy to make basic alterations to Heidi’s cake to replace the gluten, eggs, and dairy the original recipe calls for to make it allergen- and intolerance-free and, coincidentally, vegan.
The result? Very tasty. The light lemon, tangy ‘buttermilk,’ and rich raspberry flavors play off each other beautifully, and the cake functions well as a delicious, not-too-heavy, mid-summer dessert. I would serve it at a low-key gathering or shower, and I think it would be great with 3/4 of the raspberries replaced by blueberries in an American flag-ish pattern for next 4th of July.
I think another, more experienced gluten-free cook might be able to come up with a more perfect flour replacement combination, but I thought about the whole wheat pastry flour I was replacing, and then I thought about the texture I would most enjoy, and came up with what I used. I wanted a slightly nuttier experience than the original recipe called for. If you make this recipe but alter the flours, do report back what you used!
This cake was tasty enough that I brought an extra slice of it to work for breakfast this morning, and I’m thinking about making a coconut cream whipped topping for it tonight. . . .
Salt-Kissed Buttermilk Cake with Berries
gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan
3/4 c. hemp milk mixed with 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (Hemp milk is richer and thicker than most milk replacers.)
2 teaspoons flax meal dissolved in 2 T club soda and 1 t olive oil (replacer for 2 eggs)
2 1/2 c. gluten-free flour mix (I used 1 c. white rice flour, 3/4 c. teff, 1/2 c. tapioca starch, and 1/4 c. cornmeal)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (demerara)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
zest of 2 lemons
1 cup of raspberries (or more—yes, please!)
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon large grain salt*
Preheat oven to 400F degrees, racks in the middle. Grease and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 11-inch tart/quiche pan. (Heidi says: “Alternately, I’ve done this cake in a 9×13-inch rectangular baking dish – just keep a close eye on it after it has been baking for 20 minutes.”)
Prepare the ‘buttermilk’ by mixing the hemp milk and vinegar in a bowl or measuring cup. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl or ramekin, prepare the flax gel, and allow it to sit for 3-4 minutes.
Using the microwave or stovetop, heat the coconut oil until it has melted, and allow it to cool a bit.
Combine the flours, baking powder, and sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl whisk together the flax gel and the buttermilk, whisk in the melted coconut oil, and the lemon zest. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until just combined – try not to over mix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, pushing out toward the edges. Now drop the berries across top. (Heid says: “I like to smush them a bit between my fingers before letting them fall to the cake – no so perfect looking and the juices meld with the sugar.”) Sprinkle with the sugar and then the salt. Bake for about 23-27 minutes or until cake is set (or a toothpick in the center comes out clean), and a touch golden on top.
We preferred the texture of this once it had cooled nearly all the way. With raspberries getting moldy so easily, I would suggest storing the cooled cake, covered, in the refrigerator unless it will be entirely consumed the first or second day.
*My husband preferred the bites that did not include the salt, but I liked the occasional salty contrast. Try it how you think you’ll like it—or maybe put salt on half of it first to test it both ways.