In the latest issue of Bon Appetit, under the section "Sweet Comforts" was a recipe that enticed me today--Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake. I've had a love affair with buttermilk since the first time I baked with my mother. Biscuits, pancakes, Irish Soda Bread, German's Chocolate Cake, etc. all had this wonderful dairy product that I continue to use in my baked goods.
Buttermilk and cultured buttermilk are two different things; the first is the liquid left behind when butter is churned from cream and the later, is what we bake with today. Cultured buttermilk used in the United States, as well as, in India, Pakistan, Middle East, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, is a fermented dairy product of cows milk that has been left in a warm place to produce lactic acid bacteria. It's thicker than milk and produces a "richness" to anything that is baked with it.
My mother used to drink a glass of buttermilk, almost daily and I've done it occasionally--it's an acquired taste and when my grandson was here at Christmas time, he wanted to taste some. He drank it right down, handed me back the glass and said, "Good!"
Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup finely grated lemon zest (from approximately 8 lemons)
4 large eggs
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 T baking powder
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup apricot or peach preserves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan, set aside.
In a medium bowl, add the lemon zest to the granulated sugar and using your fingertips, rub together until lemon sugar is well-blended.
Place the lemon sugar in a stand mixer with the unsalted butter and using the paddle attachment mix on high until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to blend and occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. After the last egg, beat an additional 4 minutes.
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl you just had the sugar/lemon mixture in and whisk to combine.
Bake cake until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a serving platter.
To make glaze, combine the preserves and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until glaze is reduced to 1/2-cup (6 to 8 minutes). Strain glaze into a small pitcher or 1-cup glass measure. Pour glaze over cooled cake and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
As this lovely lemony cake was baking we had a fluke hail storm pass over and I was reminded we are still in the the midst of winter.
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.