buttermilk

basic bundt series: buttermilk pound cake

Hi there friends! Long time no see!

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve basically dropped off the face of the planet recently. Ever since diving head first into the renovations of Maxwell’s last summer, I’ve been posting less and less frequently and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want out of my lil’ ol blog and how much time and energy I want to put into it. Things have definitely calmed down now that Maxwell’s is up and running (and doing pretty darned well, thanks for asking), but rather than jumping from that project right back into blogging the way I used to, I’ve been taking some time for myself lately and trying to enjoy the summer.

We recently bought a car (it’s used guys, we’re not that bougie) and after 10 full years in Brooklyn, the city suddenly seems sooo much smaller and more accessible than it used to. Rather than staying home to bake and photograph fruit pies on a beautiful Summer days, we’ve been piling in the car and taking field trips to parks, beaches, stores, and points of interest that are a real pain in the arse to reach by subway or bus. We’ve even taken the dogs up to the Hudson Valley for a few little hiking trips, and went to the Adirondacks for a long weekend in Lake Placid for my birthday. Hence, for the first time ever, I didn’t post any cake recipe for my birthday this year.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m really not trying to gloat here guys, I just want to let you know that even though I haven’t been posting nearly as frequently lately, you’re still on my mind.

Like, a lot.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I got into blogging because I love food, especially baking and historic recipes and random food trivia; but as it turns out, blogging is A LOT of work and actually pretty pricey as hobbies go. Taking a little time for myself has given me some new perspective and helped me realize that I can’t keep up with the pace that I initially set for myself, and that’s okay. I need and deserve a life outside of blogging and I can’t beat myself up if I fall behind on posting. As much as I’d love to post constantly, life gets in the way. I’m sure you understand.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Anyway, worrying about all this actually of made me want to stay away entirely, but with every letter I type I feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders and it’s honestly helping me remember how much I loved doing this in the first place. I know I could have just made the decision to step back on my own and just quietly moved on with my life, but if I’m not oversharing can I really even call myself a blogger at all? I mean… Probably not right?

Long story short, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that you’re probably going to see less of me around here going forward, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing that really helped me get back into the swing of things and re-discover my love for This Old Blog™ was baking one of my absolute favorite things in the whole wide world, the magnificent, magical bundt cake!

I’m sure that you know by now that I have an unnatural love for bundt cakes. A love that may even be illegal in certain states.
While I absolutely relish the interesting & creative challenges thrown my way by the #bundtbakers group over the past few years, I’ve been thinking lately that I’d really like to spend some time perfecting some simpler, easier, more traditional bundt cakes with a broader appeal and a more familiar flavor profile.

I still plan on getting jiggy with the #bundtbakers every now and again, but for the first time in several years I’d like to share some cakes that don’t necessarily fit in with their creative themes.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m hoping to eventually follow this post up with a an entire series of bundt cake recipes featuring simple, familiar flavors; vanilla, lemon, chocolate, spice, etc.
The basic bundt series.

Get it?

To kick the whole thing off, I thought I’d go with the simplest, and most potentially versatile cake that I could think of. The plain ol’ pound cake. Butter. Eggs. Buttermilk. Vanilla.
Heaven.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

This cake is delicately sweet and super buttery. Since the butter is the standout flavor in this recipe, I’d recommend springing for the best you can find. I promise it’s worth the extra buck or two.

Because I use buttermilk rather than sour cream, this recipe is a little lighter and more delicate than some other pound cakes you may have had, but I actually prefer it this way. As a cake rather than a loaf, sliced thick and served with fresh fruit, I think the lighter crumb is just the ticket.
In the Summer a big thick slice of pound cake is heaven with fresh whipped cream and macerated strawberries or fresh ripe blueberries.

If you want to kick this cake up to the next level though, feel free to experiment a little!
This recipe is the perfect base for almost any flavor you could want to pair with it. Add a few tablespoons of your favorite booze to add another layer of flavor. Toss in a cup of fresh (or frozen) berries to make a fruity, summery pound cake. Instead of fruit, why not stir in a cup of chocolate chips and some chopped walnuts? Or infuse the butter (or buttermilk) with tea leaves, lavender flowers, fresh herbs, or dried spices. You could even stir some fresh citrus zest into the sugar before creaming it into the butter.
Once you get the basics down, the skies the limit folks!

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

buttermilk pound cake bundt

1 cup (2 sticks) best quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and lightly flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Tap out excess flour. Refrigerate pan until ready for use.

Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until very light, about a minute or two. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and add oil and beat until smooth and combined. Add sugar and beat until fluffy and pale, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix vanilla into buttermilk.
Alternate additions of the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the butter, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Do not over-mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan, leaving at least an inch from the top of the pan. Tap the pan on the counter several times to smooth out the batter and remove any air bubbles.
Bake for about 60 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before turning out of pan. Turn out onto the rack and cool completely before glazing.

Best Simple Bundt Cake Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons half & half

Mix sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons half & half together in a small bowl. Mix until completely smooth and free of lumps. You want the glaze to be very thick so it doesn’t slide right off the cake, but it does need to be liquid enough that it pours smoothly. If necessary, thin the glaze out with more half & half, adding only about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time to avoid thinning it too much.

Pour the glaze in a steady stream over the center of the cake. Place a pan under the rack just in case the glaze drips. Let the glaze harden for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Cake can be store, tightly covered at room temperature, for about 3 days.

rhubarb pound cake bundt #bundtbakers

When it comes to bundt cakes, I do my best to be creative and keep things interesting.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Having been a member of a monthly bundt baking group for over a year now, I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration and fun new ways to play with flavors and ingredients. I definitely have a few favorites out of all the cakes I’ve made since joining, but you may be surprised to know what my favorite kind of bundt cake is. When I’m not trying to get creative to fit a #bundtbakers theme, I like to keep things nice and simple.

Can you guess what my favorite bundt might be?

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

I bet most of you guessed chocolate. While I do love me some chocolate, that would be my second favorite.

One more guess…

Give up?

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Lemon!

A simple lemony pound cake is tops in my book. Both dense and delicate at once, with a bright sunny citrus flavor front and center, it doesn’t get any better than that. I don’t know what it is about a citrusy pound cake, but I will just never ever get enough. The best thing about a lemon pound cake is how versatile it can be if you want to pair it with other flavors. Lemon is a perfect compliment to almost any fruit you can name. Think about it. Berries. Cherries. Stone fruit. Tropical fruit. Even other citrus! Lemon is like the little black dress of bundt cakes.

Do you have a favorite bundt cake? Well don’t keep it a secret! What is it?

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Being the lemon lover I am, I did a very mature and completely dignified jump for joy when I found out that Anne of From My Sweet Heart chose Lemon as the #bundtbakers theme for June. Thank you Anne!

If you love lemon just as much as I do (or at least almost as much as I do) you MUST scroll down past the recipe to check out all the other recipes this month. Just reading through the list of titles has me drooling.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

First I thought about just doing a simple lemon buttermilk pound cake, and while I’m sure I would have loved it, I wanted to do just a little bit more with this month’s sublimely summery theme. Berries would have been a great way to go, but just before joining #bundtbakers I came up with a recipe for a lemony blueberry buttermilk bundt cake that would knock your socks off. It’s so good, in fact, that it was just featured in the summer issue of Sweet Paul Magazine! Woot woot!

So that was out. Knowing this month’s theme I’m kicking myself for not keeping that one in my pocket just a little bit longer.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

What else? What else?

Sometimes there are just too many amazing possibilities to be able to choose just one.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Rather than agonize over all the choices I figured I should just go about my business and let the inspiration come to me.

On my birthday last month Russell took me to lunch in Williamsburg and afterward we went for coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops. While waiting in line we passed their pastry case and inside we saw a neat little row of thick slices of rhubarb pound cake. Of course we had to try some. While their coffee never disappoints, the pound cake unfortunately did. The texture was great, and the sweetness was spot on, but it lacked in that tart rhubarb flavor that I was expecting, and their was no actual rhubarb visible anywhere in the slice. As soon as the words, “I could do better” came out of my mouth, I knew what I had to do.

Pound cake. Tart rhubarb. Summery lemon. It was on.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This pound cake is just as dense and buttery and eggy as a good pound cake should be, with just a tiny bit of extra lift thanks to the addition of a bit of baking powder. The crumb is moist and tender and perfect, with just enough sweetness to offset the tart rhubarb and compliment the bright lemon. Rather than pureeing it, the rhubarb is left in small chunks so you can see what you’re eating. An entire pound of rhubarb (4 whole cups) gets tossed with a bit of sugar and cooked for a few minutes before going into the cake batter. This way the rhubarb not only softens a bit, but also releases some of it’s juices to ensure the flavorful juice is distributed throughout the whole cake. A touch of lemon zest and juice is the perfect bright compliment to the sweetened rhubarb, and a simple lemon glaze is the only finishing touch this summery pound cake could ask for.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Rhubarb Pound Cake Bundt with Lemon Glaze

4 cups (about 1lb) rhubarb, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
zest and juice of 1 lemon, separate
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a bundt pan and refrigerate.

mix the cut rhubarb with 1/2 cup of the sugar in a medium frypan or skillet. Cook over medium high heat until tender but not mushy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), cream together the butter, remaining 2 cups sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. In a large measuring cup mix together the buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla; and in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate 3 additions of flour and 2 additions of buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gently fold in the rhubarb and any juices until the liquid is just combined and the rhubarb is evenly distributed.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of he cake comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for about 20 minutes. Invert pan to release cake onto the rack and cool completely before adding the glaze.

Lemon Glaze
zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

Whisk all ingredients together until well mixed and free of lumps. If a thinner consistency is desired, add a bit more lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon at a time). For a thicker consistency add more powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Evenly drizzle the glaze over the completely cooled cake. Cake can be served immediately but can be stored, tightly wrapped and air tight at room temperature, for about 3 days.

rhubarb pound cake with lemon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This list of lovely luscious lemon cakes has my mouth watering like crazy. This month’s theme is pure heaven and I couldn’t be happier to gawk and drool over this long list of tasty bundts.

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BundtBakers

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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

pomegranate panna cotta

There were certain foods that I was never really exposed to growing up, foods that even as I grew older still seemed exotic, fancy, and out of reach.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

Even after taking culinary courses in college and working in restaurants for years, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really felt comfortable selecting and buying avocados. In restaurants I would enjoy guacamole, but it was never something I was adventurous enough to try making myself. A few years ago something suddenly changed, a paradigm shift if you will, an avocado paradigm, and all at once the avocado started entering my grocery basket just as effortlessly as a loaf of bread or a carton of eggs.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

More recently my pomegranate paradigm shifted too. It started with a pomegranate dessert at a bakery in Williamsburg or a salad with pomegranate delivered for lunch at work, and then one day a pomegranate came home with me from the market and I had to figure out how to get the damned seeds out.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

My kitchen a mess, with red splatters on the walls and seeds strewn about the counters and floor, I vowed I’d never do that again.

Then I did that again.

Somewhere along the way I learned a trick on how to get the seeds out without having to repaint the kitchen ceiling, et voila, pomegranates were no longer scary and exotic things only to be eaten when other people were doing the work. Suddenly they were accessible and familiar, and while they don’t come home with me as often as avocados, they do find themselves in my grocery bags every so often.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you don’t already have a good method to get the seeds out, or you’re intimidated by pomegranates the way I used to be, look no further! It’s actually a lot more simple than you might think.

Slice the pomegranate in half – straight through the middle. Hold one half firmly with your hand over a large bowl. With the other hand, use a wooden spoon to give the outside several good firm whacks. It may take a bit to loosen the seeds, but once they loosen up they’ll start falling out into the bowl without losing much of their juice. You’ll need to rotate it to get the seeds out of every part of the fruit, but it’s truly not difficult, messy, or time consuming in the way that other methods can be. Some of the white membranes may get knocked out with the seeds too though, so you’ll need to pick through and remove them.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was thinking of something I could make for the hubby for Valentine’s day, it didn’t take me long to decide on a pomegranate flavored panna cotta. I’ve always loved the silky smooth texture and subtle sweetness of panna cotta, and I thought pomegranate would be an ideal flavor to pair with the tangy buttermilk that traditional panna cotta usually contains.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

It may seem fancy or fussy, but I promise that making panna cotta is really quite simple. It’s basically like a custard or pudding that’s thickened with gelatin rather than eggs or cornstarch. If you can make jello, you can make panna cotta. The most difficult part of this recipe is reducing the pomegranate syrup, which actually isn’t difficult at all.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

This dessert is wonderfully flavorful, beautifully pale pink, and perfectly light and delicate. The pomegranate and orange are the perfect tart and sweet complement to the tangy buttermilk, and the heavy cream ensures a rich creamy flavor and velvety smooth texture. Since I usually like my desserts to be subtly sweetened, I served this with just a touch of reserved pomegranate syrup, but if you prefer sweeter desserts just pour it on thick! The texture of a good panna cotta shouldn’t be jiggly or gelatinous like jello, but silky and almost just barely set. This recipe doesn’t disappoint in that respect. A few fresh pomegranate seeds on top help to add a bright freshness, a nice bit of texture, and a beautiful ruby color.

pomegranate panna cotta | Brooklyn Homemaker

Pomegranate Panna Cotta

adapted (just barely) from Epicurious

peanut or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons plus 2 cups pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Peel from 1 orange, removed in strips with vegetable peeler
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
handful of pomegranate seeds for garnish

Lightly oil six 3/4-cup ramekins, custard cups, or silicone molds with a paper towel. Place 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice in small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over it, and let stand for 10 minutes. Heat remaining 2 cups pomegranate juice, sugar, and orange peel in large saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil until syrup is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 20 minutes or so. I found it helpful to keep a heatproof measuring cup with mesh strainer (to catch the orange peel) next to the stove to check how much the syrup had reduced. Once reduced to 1 1/4 cups, remove orange peel. Reserve 1/3 cup of the syrup as a sauce; cover and refrigerate.
Add gelatin mixture to remaining hot syrup in the pan and stir well until completely dissolved. Whisk in orange juice and whipping cream, then buttermilk. Strain the mixture to remove any lumps or buttermilk solids. Divide among prepared ramekins. Chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Run knife around edge of ramekins; invert onto plates. If you have trouble getting them out you may need to run the ramekins under warm water for a few seconds. Drizzle with sauce, sprinkle with a few pomegranate seeds, and serve.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream

It’s no secret that I love buttermilk.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

I love buttermilk so much, in fact, that when I read online about people substituting sour milk for buttermilk I actually get upset and maybe yell at the computer screen a little. When thekitchn recently ran an article about substitutions for buttermilk, I was beyond annoyed. I thought they were better than that. You know what I do when I don’t have buttermilk? I go to the damn store!!!

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

I know it’s hard to find buttermilk sold in small quantities, but I promise that it freezes really well, and then you’ll have it when you need it. In my opinion there’s just no excuse not to buy it when you’re shopping for a recipe. The main reason for my indignance is that buttermilk just turns everything it touches to gold, and so it seems ridiculous that anyone would work so hard to avoid using it. It’s mild acidity has the ability to loosen proteins in both meat and wheat gluten, making for fried chicken and biscuits that are equally tender and moist. It has a sour tanginess, but it’s not at all similar to milk soured with lemon juice. This tanginess is a cultured one, closer in flavor to yogurt or sour cream. Because it’s a cultured dairy product, it also has a light creamy thickness that you’ll never be able to achieve with sorry substitutes.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve read that today’s commercial buttermilk doesn’t even come close to the real thing, the buttermilk our grandparents and great-grandparents used to use. I know it is possible to find buttermilk being made the old fashioned way, or even to make it yourself at home, but my fanaticism hasn’t gone that far… Yet. Ignorance is bliss I suppose because I’m perfectly happy using the stuff from the grocery store, and maintain that it has a flavor and viscosity unmatched by substitutes, resulting in baked goods and tasty treats with superior texture and taste you’ll never be able to achieve any other way.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

I love buttermilk in everything but a drinking glass. That tanginess and viscosity is perfect for baking, but somehow doesn’t appeal to me for drinking. Not yet anyway. My great-grandmother used to drink the occasional glass when I was growing up. Her name was Opal, but we called her Nana, and at the time I thought she was out of her mind to drink the stuff. These days though, I think I almost get it. I love the smell now, and relish the occasional taste when it gets on my hands. When I first heard someone mention buttermilk ice cream, I knew I had to try it. I researched some recipes, did some reading, danced a little jig, dusted off the ice cream maker, and went to town.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was so excited about tasting buttermilk ice cream that I accidentally mis-read the recipe. I skipped over the part about using half of a vanilla bean, and used the whole thing. It wasn’t until the bean was scraped and steeping in hot cream that I realized I’d messed up. You know what though, it was phenomenal! The recipe below is exactly as I made it, with plenty of vanilla.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

This ice cream is serious business. I feel like people don’t give vanilla ice cream the credit it’s due, but I for one LOVE a good bowl of vanilla ice cream. This isn’t just any vanilla ice cream though. It’s BUTTERMILK FREAKIN VANILLA ICE CREAM. It’s every bit as creamy, custardy, sweet, and packed with all the vanilla flavor that you’d want it to be. Beyond all that though, it’s silky and rich, with a wonderful subtle tanginess that only comes from buttermilk. It’s almost lemony, but somehow not quite. It almost has a slight yogurt flavor, but again, that’s not quite it either. It’s buttermilk y’all, and it can’t be beat.

buttermilk vanilla ice cream | Brooklyn Homemaker

Buttermilk Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Servings: about 5 or 6 cups
  • Print
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sugar, separated
6 large egg yolks*
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla OR one vanilla bean, scraped and simmered with the cream
Pinch of salt

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean (if using), and one cup of sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and drizzle a small amount into the yolks, slowly, and whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Do this a few more times to warm up the yolks before pouring the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking constantly.
Cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla (if using), and salt. Cool completely and freeze according manufacturer’s directions. Serve with some fresh sliced peaches or strawberries.

* The original recipe called for 12 yolks. The ice cream would be outrageously rich and decadent if you wanted to use more, but with six yolks it’s still much much more rich than anything you can buy in a store.