Sunday, October 30, 2016
1. My grandmother believed that buttermilk was the healthiest drink a child could have. I hated the taste with the fire of a thousand suns. Because she was a clever woman, one summer she served me the first strawberries from her garden in buttermilk. Because I was a sneaky child, I waited until she left the kitchen for a moment and then rinsed the buttermilk off the strawberries.
2. If you are so inclined, you can buy two different sorts of buttermilk in Finland. One is the kind you can buy here, the other, called "long buttermilk" consists of strands which are cousins to snot. If you upend the container, the strands dangle menacingly in front of your eyes.
3. As you may have figured out, I would never date buttermilk. But I love the buttermilk cake! Go figure.
Here's the recipe, in metric units (sorry, American bakers). If you have a measuring cup with both Imperial and metric units, you can use that one. If you don't have one of those, my translations are in parentheses.*
2.25 deciliters of buttermilk (0.95 cups)
a drop of cream (tablespoonful)
1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
1.5 deciliters of white sugar (0.63 cups)
1.5 deciliters of molasses (0.63 cups)
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
2 deciliters of raisins (0.85 cups)
1.5 deciliters of melted butter (0.63 cups)
4.5 deciliters of white flour (1.9 cups)
Butter and flour a bundt pan**. If you have them, use bread crumbs instead of flour. Heat the oven to 350F (175C). Mix all ingredients in the order given***. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about an hour or until a toothpick or a fork comes out clean.
Two important observations: The first time I made this by grinding the cloves right at the point of adding them I found out that one teaspoon of freshly ground cloves will take the top of your palate off and release smoke from your ears. If you like that effect, go ahead and follow the recipe with freshly ground cloves. I tend to use only half a teaspoon of them now, but one teaspoon is probably correct for pre-ground cloves.
Second, I detest raisins even more than I detest drinking buttermilk****. I have never added them and the cake turns out just fine without them. It would be turned into the garbage with them at the Snakepit Inc..
The cake is not very sweet, it gets better over a few days, and it's very nice with coffee.
* I'm imagining someone carefully trying to follow those measurements! My guess is that you can round off without anything horrible happening.
** You could probably use some other kind of pan, too, such as one of those oblong bread pans.
*** This is what makes the cake so easy! No beating, no kneading, no nothing, just add everything and mix.
**** They really are rabbit droppings. People pretend that they are food.