There are compliments, and then there are compliments. Guys, I received just about the sweetest, biggest, best compliment I have ever received on anything I have ever baked or cooked for this cake.
But let me start at the beginning. As soon as I saw this cake in The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook: Recipes and Reflections from a Small Vermont Dairy I knew I was making it. At the same time, the school carnival was coming up, and as you guy know I always like to bake for the cake walk. So I split this 9X13 sheet cake into 2 8X8 snacking cakes, and saved one for us and one for the cake walk. At the same time, the day of the carnival, my kids each had a friend over. I gave them the option of the Halloween sprinkled cookies, this cake or a small slice of the mini loaf I had for the other cake walk cake (stay tuned for recipe). Each child chose a cookie (kids and sprinkles–it is money in the bank), but since the cookies were tiny I also let them have a tiny square of this cake. I also showed them the matching cake that would be available at the cake walk.
Well darn if Alex’s friend didn’t play the cake walk repeatedly upon getting to the carnival, until she won a cake. She chose this buttermilk beauty and proceeded to run all over the cafeteria, showing anyone who would listen that she won this cake. I was so touched! Then, a few days later, she came and found me in the gym when I was picking the girls up to ask if she could please have the recipe! So adorable! Emma, this post is for you!
Before I forget, I promised you guys I would show you the OXO Good Grips Plastic Brownie Spatula for Non-stick Pans that I was sent as part of their Bake A Difference campaign [Update November 2018, the original Bake a Difference link no longer works, so that link will take you to OXO’s page about their work with Cookies for Kids Cancer in general]. I am in love with this tiny spatula! It is well designed, slices a good sized slice for a bar cookie or (like this one) a super rich cake. Best of all, however, it works in a non-stick pan. In the past I would have attempted to remove this cake from the pan with parchment paper before slicing it. Now I just leave it in the pan. The one drawback to this of course is that with a deliciously moist cake such as this one, your husband will come along and take slices while leaving the bottom of the pan a gooey mess. Which is not so nice for pictures. Alas. And yes if you are wondering I did wash the spatula before taking pictures!
Another OXO tool from that package that came in super handy is the OXO Good Grips Silicone Pastry Brush. There are holes in a sheet inbetween the fringe of the brush that grab the marinade/glaze/etc and therefore allow you to brush more on at once. It worked perfectly for the buttermilk glaze on this cake, as you can see Alex above glazing the cake.
Because I don’t want to hold out on you, I have to also tell you that both of my cakes inexplicably rose in the center. You guys know I bake a lot of cakes, and honestly I just have not come up with a reason for this. I have a newer, even-cooking convection oven. My baking soda is fresh, although since it is baking soda my understanding is that it does not matter (unlike baking powder). I whisked the baking soda in thoroughly. I am at a loss, and yes the cake kinda looks like it has a tumor–or ten. But the weirdness collapsed and did not affect the flavor, or even really the presentation after being glazed, so I am sharing the cake anyway (we don’t want to let Emma down!). If any of my readers have any thoughts feel free to share!
- 1¾ cups AP flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 t baking soda
- ½ t fine sea salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup minus 2 t natural cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
- 2 t Hershey's Special Dark cocoa (or substitute with a Dutch cocoa--this is optional, for the darker color)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup buttermilk (I used full fat)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 t vanilla
- For the buttermilk glaze:
- ⅓ cup buttermilk (I used full fat)
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 t vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Thoroughly butter a 9X13 baking pan or 2 8X8 baking pans. Be sure to get the corners! Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, both sugars, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat bring to a boil the cocoa powders, the butter and the water. Stir constantly. As soon as the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil, pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour.
- Using a handheld beater, beat the cocoa mixture into the flour mixture on medium speed just until mixed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and then add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl one more time before finishing.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan/s. Bake for 20-25 minutes (keep a close eye on the cakes if you are using smaller pans, but I found they took about the same amount of time as the bigger pan would). When they are done, the cake will start pulling away from the edges of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake will come out with only a few crumbs attached (or clean).
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
- For the glaze, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Taste for additional salt, sugar or even buttermilk. Because this is a glaze and not a frosting, if the recipe as written will be too sweet for you, just add less sugar.
- When the cake is cool, brush the glaze all over the cake, being certain to get the sides and corners as well. Let the glaze sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
The fine print: OXO did send me these items for free, but did not compensate me in any other way. I paid for the cookbook used myself. My opinions are my own; I only accept OXO tools because I really like their company. Affiliate links, as always, were used in this post.