Monday, November 5, 2012

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Being the ever thrifty homemaker, I always find buttermilk being overpriced.  Probably due to the low demand here, a carton of buttermilk can buy twice the amount of fresh milk.  But, as I have read so much about baking and cooking with buttermilk, I'm really curious to experiment a little with buttermilk.  With the packet of buttermilk, I used it to make buttermilk pancakes, pan-grilled buttermilk chicken and finally, this chocolate buttermilk cake with cream cheese frosting.  Not bad huh, really stretch my dollar by using the buttermilk to make breakfast, dinner and a tea-treat!

This chocolate cake recipe is adapted from my earlier Wild Berries Citron Crumble Slice, mainly by replacing a small portion of plain flour with cocoa powder; and sour cream/milk with buttermilk.  The frosting is cream cheese with melted white chocolate and topped with toasted chopped walnuts, dried cranberries and apricot.  I like to add white chocolate to cream cheese frosting as it tastes good and keeps the frosting from melting away

(makes 8" square pan)

100g butter
50g fine sugar
30g brown sugar (or use all fine sugar)
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs (55g each)
1 tsp rum extract
100g plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder (sift together)
40g cocoa powder + 3 tbsp hot water (stir together)
100ml buttermilk

100g cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp melted white chocolate
1 tbsp orange liquor

Toasted walnuts, chopped
Chopped dried cranberries and apricot
Some lemon zest

1) Cream butter, sugar and salt together till light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time.  Mix in rum extract.

2) Add flour and buttermilk, alternately to butter mixture.  Add in the cocoa paste.  Mix well.  Pour into greased and lined baking pan.

3) Bake in preheated oven of 180C for about 35 minutes.  Remove from oven, set to cool before spreading with cream cheese frosting.

4) To prepare frosting, beat the cream cheese with lemon juice till creamy.  Add in icing sugar and beat well.  Add melted white chocolate, orange liquor and beat well.

So what's my verdict with using buttermilk in cooking and baking?  It's good to have, but not necessary.  My buttermilk pancake does not taste fluffier or tastier than one prepared with plain milk + vinegar.  My buttermilk chicken tastes just as succulent nice as one prepared without using buttermilk.  I think the cooking time, method and heat control is more important.  I'm not an absolute chocolate cake lover, so while this chocolate cake is nice and soft, I guess the right combination of cream/milk will yield the same soft texture too ^_^


  1. Hi Fong, thanks for this review on buttermilk - i was just thinking the same thing - how expensive it is, when i was at the baking shop today. was so tempted to get a carton, but it was about RM15...made me think twice. maybe i will just make plain milk with vinegar/lemon juice.

  2. I guess taste can be very subjective and personal. I have read raved reviews about buttermilk and "the difference" that it made. This is why I am curious and made a purchase. I would suggest that you give it a try, so you can make a comparison.

  3. Hi Fong,can I ask how long can the cake be kept?Thinking of baking this cake as christmas present.Thx for the fab recipe :) Steph

  4. Hi Steph, the cake itself should keep at least one week in the fridge. But with the cream cheese frosting, it is best to consume within 4 days. Keep the cake in cake box or container and keep in fridge. Of course, the best is to eat it immediately when the toasted nuts are most fragrance and the cake, frosting is freshly prepared.


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