Taking the full measure of life

Salt-Kissed Buttermilk Cake Recipe . . . with no eggs, gluten, or dairy

July 16th, 2008 · 13 Comments

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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.

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 michelle // Jul 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    It looks beautiful! I really like the idea of flax meal as an egg replacer too, I had non idea that you could do that. I’ve been trying coconut oil in lots of recipes too and am really liking the flavor it adds to stir fries and baked goods!

  • 2 KL // Jul 16, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Psst … your cake is even prettier than the original? Is that your doings or Dan’s?

  • 3 Hélène // Jul 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Nice that you did a gluten-free version. My brother-in-law will be visiting in August and has celiac disease. Nice picture.

  • 4 John's Weight Loss Blog // Jul 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Great picture! I have to ask, do you photoshop the blur or do you just have awesome photo skills?

  • 5 Beth // Jul 16, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    So weird! I stumbled upon the original recipe when I was taking a break at work today, and thought my memory was wrong when I came here! Wonderful job with the substitutions; I agree that you’re looks as good as, if not better than, the original. I think I’d like to try hemp milk at some point. I like to use coconut milk in recipes because it’s a little thicker too. Lovely!

  • 6 Tracie // Jul 16, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Your cake looks great. I am going to try. I would like to move to more of a vegan diet for health reasons. You may be my new expert!

  • 7 thickchick // Jul 16, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I would have never thought of adding salt to a cake like that eventhough I am a big fan of sweet and salty. Sounds like a fabulous idea!

    Also – your new photo is gorgeous! I can’t believe how long your hair has gotten.

    And in regards to your comment on my blog… no medical school in our household! The Cub is an overachiever, but not that big of one! 😉

  • 8 lifeinrecipes // Jul 17, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Thanks for finding me so I could find you. Such an inspiring blog.

    Very best to you. I’ll be checking back.

  • 9 sally // Jul 17, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Thanks for all the compliments, y’all. Hope some of you try the cake–either my or Heidi’s versions! (I brought it again for breakfast with some hazelnut-milked-chai this morning. Yum!)

    John, my husband, Dan, is a really good photographer. My food photography is featured in some of my posts, but Dan took this photo. He did Photoshop it to process it in the basic ways that photographers have always done with chemical processing (that’s standard–Photoshopping doesn’t necessarily mean crazy changes to photos, which I didn’t know until a couple of years ago), but the limited depth of field that you’re talking about—the blur in the background, the crispness in the foreground—was created with the aperture setting on his DSLR camera.

  • 10 Jenn // Jul 20, 2008 at 6:04 am

    I’m always looking for more vegan recipes, especially for baked goods–can’t wait to try this!

  • 11 Annie // Jul 21, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Hey Sally:

    For the egg replacer: “2 teaspoons flax meal dissolved in 2 T club soda and 1 t olive oil (replacer for 2 eggs)”

    That is a new one for me, I had just been using flax meal and warm water. What differences do you notice with club soda and olive oil?

    As always, thanks for posting all these great recipes and information, it has been a huge help!

  • 12 sally // Jul 22, 2008 at 4:35 am

    Club soda offers an extra bit of lift/lightness to the cake (or other recipes). The oil replaces the fat in the eggs. It’s just me working on trying to replicate more exactly what eggs offer to the recipe. 🙂 It might work fine with just water.

  • 13 Gluten Free Cake Round-Up | Strawberries are Gluten Free // May 13, 2009 at 2:34 pm

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