People often ask me what my favourite cake is. I suppose they're expecting something really exotic and complicated, and maybe because I know how much work goes into cake, actually the opposite is true.
In the immortal words of Cake (no pun intended!), 'The ornaments look pretty but they're pulling down the branches of the tree..'
A cake can (and should) be no less delicious once you strip away all the ganache, buttercream, sugar fondant, colouring and the rest of it and maybe I take after my dad this way but I really love just a plain butter cake. Don't care if it's round, square or in a loaf pan - that soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth goodness is just so homey and comfy for me.
We celebrated my dad's 61st birthday last night and though some might've expected something fancy I decided to go back to basics and give him something I know he would enjoy.
This Country Buttermilk cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible (which is a really great read with terrific recipes and instructions - I highly recommend it) is one of my hands-down favourite butter cake recipes. It may look overly cooked on the outside, but the inside is just deliciously fluffy, light and (yes I'm going to use that dreaded word that so many cake artists hate to hear) MOIST. It's not overly sweet or rich and I'd happily devour it just on its own, but to make it just a little bit more special it's perfect with creme fraiche and fresh berries (my local grocery store only had overpriced - $9 - raspberries in this case).
We had some cinnamon-vanilla sugar to hand, so I whipped my creme fraiche with about 3 tbsp of the sugar. The result is a subtle floral fragrance and the sweetness of the sugar cuts the sourness of the creme fraiche just a little so it's almost like sweetened natural yoghurt. Add that to this light butter cake which is almost like a sponge and oh god just thinking about it now I want more!!