Thursday, April 09, 2009

Salt-kissed Buttermilk Cake

title
I know I’ve just come from a post that extolled the wonders of my favourite tropical fruit, now in its resplendent season. I also know that it’s best to buy in season, and locally. But sometimes a girl just can’t wait, nor can she travel to wherever raspberries grow.

So I’ve gone and been naughty and bought frozen raspberries.

Listen first and scold me later!

You see, this didn’t start with frozen raspberries, although I have seen them for a while and have been sorely tempted (we sometimes get fresh too but they are likewise imported and quite pricey). This actually started with this. Another recipe from the fabulous Heidi of 101 Cookbooks who makes healthy food look like the superstars they truly are. Salt-kissed Buttermilk Cake. The name alone sounds instantly charming. But that wasn’t the only thing that drew me to her post.

Reading through it she mentions the finishing salt she uses, a salt which her salt-geek friend refers to as “an exaggerated version of the classic fleur de sel Brittany sea salt widely used in fine cooking, with lush almost billowy crystals that provide a sensuous crunch.” Do you know where this wondrous salt is found? Here! Yes, here in the Philippines! It’s called Pangasinan Star sea salt and is also hailed as “Ilocano Asin Philippine fleur de sel sea salt”. Could this be the same (or similar) to the sea salt I lugged back from Ilocos? I had never heard of this salt before but you can be sure I will be on the hunt for it here! If anyone knows of purveyors in Manila please drop me a line!

At this point I was into the cake and into the salt and just lost in the blissful haven of Heidi’s blog as what usually happens when I am there. It was time to focus and I was determined to replicate that cake.

Fortuitously, I knew just where to get fresh, local, buttermilk – not just any buttermilk, but buttermilk made from carabao’s milk (a carabao is our native water buffalo whose milk has a higher fat content than cow’s milk)!

The next ingredient I had to find was whole wheat pastry flour, which I easily located at a nearby health food shop (where I get all my grains too) care of Bob’s Red Mill.

Local buttermilk, local salt, imported flour, and imported berries – I’ll call that even and will let this one slip by :)

You can find the original recipe here along with pretty pictures that will make you want to bake this cake right now. I followed it to the letter using the frozen raspberries I so sneakily bought. This is the first time I’ve baked with whole wheat pastry flour (not including bread using whole wheat flour) and I was curious to see how it would come out. I brought it to my mom’s for dessert and the vote was split 3 to 2. My mom, grandmother, and I enjoyed the cake – its soft buttermilk crumb, the earthy whole wheat taste, the not-overly-sweet cake, and the tart tang of the raspberries. C and my brother seemed a bit uncertain – which I think stems from the whole wheat-y-ness of it which caught them a tad off guard. I did like it though and next time, I will try making it while half whole wheat pastry flour and half AP to see if the boys can be changed in their opinion :) I’m also thinking of being better behaved and actually using fruits in season instead of the raspberries. Mangoes would be a good choice but I am reluctant to bake with mangoes as I much prefer them fresh. Maybe pineapple? This cake is also good for breakfast the next day – I toast a slice and put a bit of butter on it...siiigh, still naughty! :)

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it! If you are under the Philippine sun please don’t forget your protection...my shoulders are stinging from my negligence (naughty again!)!

43 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

This gorgeous cake looks mighty good! A delicious treat!

Cheers,

Rosa

Anne said...

So pretty! Whenever I bake using wholewheat flour, i always make it a point to always use half with regular flour because using wholewheat imaparts a certain flavour that for someone who's not used to it would really be turned off. It takes like your eating saw dust :) It takes getting used to...I'm happy though that my stage of indifference to wholewheat flour has passed and in fact I used it now in most of my bakes.

Pangasinan Star Sea Salt...wow!..I've never heard of such a thing even though I frequent Bolinao Pangasinan but I'm impressed (",)

Jescel said...

wow.. thank you for that information about the philippine fleur de sel! cool! that cake is soo pretty. i love using whole wheat pastry flour.. maybe strawberries would be a good sub for the raspberries?

Erin said...

I have been meaning to make this for so long, you've inspired me. 101 Cookbooks is such an amazing blog, I wish I had an ounce of Heidi's effortless style.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

All it takes for me is the word buttermilk . . . just about everything is good with buttermilk.
Beautiful cake Joey.

Joanna said...

Oh oh oh, I froze some raspberries and blackberries myself last summer, and they've been sitting in my freezer all winter waiting for the PERFECT recipe - couldn't waste my limited supply on anything less than stellar, you see. But I love buttermilk, and I have some WW pastry flour on hand, and I think it might just be time to break into my berry stash! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

Elyse said...

This looks and sounds completely fabulous. I'd never even heard of a carabao until this post! Your buttermilk cake sounds soooo completely delicious. YUM!

Manggy said...

Happy Easter to you too Joey! Totally unbecoming for a Filipino I know, but raspberries are my second favorite fruit (next to mangoes-- does that make up for it?)! The cake is beautiful, though I've never successfully been able to make frozen rasps stay so well-formed. Always pureed eventually.
Sorry I haven't been able to reply, but where did you find the buttermilk?! :)
(Hmm... My lola is on a week-long vacay in Ilocos (Sur, though.))

Lori said...

Hi Joey,
Do use half AP flour when baking with whole wheat or any other more grain-y flour. It'll lessen the bulkiness and overly woody taste that those who prefer white flour-goods would be averse to. I once made 100% whole wheat bread and not only was it a pain to knead (so sticky!) nobody in the house touched it except me because it was so ... brown. After a few days even I gave up on it and chucked it in the trash because it was just so ... heavy.

MeetaK said...

i am loving the flavors of this cake. buttermilk is something that i adore in cakes and muffins.

Kevin said...

That cake looks really good!

Bea said...

Hey! I'm pretty sure it's similar stuff to Pasuquin salt, but from Pangasinan. The process seems fairly similar I've been in contact with Mark from At The Meadow (he was the one who told me about that Philippine chocolate ar I mentioned to you) and he gets it from a distributor in the US. I am pretty certain it's that woman who also sells pink salt.

I think Ilocano salt is great. The one we get from Culili (I like the taste better hehe), I use it to finish too and for sweets/chocolate/coffee. I'm currently collecting salts from all over the Philippines. They haven't been chronicled so much, but I think they have their own flavor.

My nerdy desired salt is one from the Mountain Province-- they used to make it from brackish springs in cobblestone salt houses, but the industry has died. Soon, soon, I'll do an INdiana Jones-like search for these things.

I gotta taste some of your cooking sometime :D

Watergirl said...

Divine colors! The red and gold of that cake would look great in the autumn, but it also looks so summery.
You can find Pangasinan salt in the spice shop in Marketmarket, and I've seen one vendor in Salcedo market sell Pangasinan fleur de sel (same folks who sell vanilla, near Gil Carandang).
Also check out Dasol brand of salt from Pangasinan, see if it will work as a finishing salt.

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Wow, this looks incredible! And the phrase "salt kissed" made my mouth water.

ThePurpleFoodie said...

Omg, the cake looks gorgeous. Frozen raspberries or not, I'm happy to have a slice. :D

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rosa! Thanks! It was! :)

Hi Anne! I actually like the wheat-y taste, but you are right, not everyone is used to it! Thank you for the tip and I will certainly try it next time I use my whole wheat pastry flour :) Are you from Bolinao?

Hi Jescel! Isn’t it? I have various local salts (and they are good!) but it was so nice to see them being spoken of highly by others! :) You are right about the strawberries...will try that! I have made a yogurt cake with strawberries that came out good...and at least we can get them fresh locally :)

Hi Erin! I agree 200%! She is amazing!

Hi Tanna! Yes! And now I can bake with fresh (and rich!) buttermilk anytime...yay! :)

Hi Joanna! Lucky you to have such a stash! Hope you enjoy the recipe! Heidi has other recipes using buttermilk and whole wheat pastry flour too that look just as delectable!

Hi Elyse! Carabao is our “beast of burden”, being the animal that has helped our farmers for generations till the fields, so it has a special place in our hearts :) The milk is so creamy and rich...not good id you are on a diet...but I’m not, hehe!

Hi Manggy! Happy Easter to you as well! Haha! Well figs are right up there on my list too so I am likewise guilty! As for the raspberries frozen form, I put them in the cake still frozen...would that account for them keeping their shape? I will email you about the buttermilk!

Hi Lori! Thank you for your advice! I will do that! :)

Hi Meeta! Now that I’ve found a good local source for buttermilk I will definitely be using it more often :)

Hi Kevin! Thanks :)

Hi Bea! I knew you would be able to shed some light! :) I love Ilocos salt as well and still have a huge sack but there is always room for more salt in my kitchen! Will you be selling the salt from Culili? That Mountain Province salt sounds awesome! Do you barter? I’ll trade you food for some of those edible treasures you find on your jaunts! Seriously, please let me know when you’ve got excess stuff to sell and I’ll be in line to buy some!

Hi M! Out of the country and still in the know! I miss you! I will check those places out! I have also noticed that Dasol brand and I think it should work as a finishing salt...will buy a box when I see it next :)

Hi Ari! It made my mouth water too! :)

Hi Purple Foodie! Thank you :)

Bea said...

Hehe no excess stuff as of now, as been pretty busy with work :( Though I can hand you some stuff in smallish quanities! We're replenishing our Culili stuff soon and I'll give you some. I've also ordered some from Gen San :)

By the way, there are wild raspberries in Sagada. They're pretty small but have a good flavor. Not in season yet though (they are a bit sour at this point). They are called pinit. Saw them while hiking.

Pille said...

There's no shame in buying frozen raspberries, ChichaJo - I do it occasionally as well. (Esp. as I only get to eat fresh strawberries straight off the bush in July-August).
Never heard of Pangasian Star Sea Salt either - sounds exotic (even though I'm a wee bit unsure about special salts after reading J. Steingarten. I still use my Maldon sea salt, however...)
And that buttermilk sounds fab!!!

SimplePleasures said...

Hi! where can I get buttermilk?

Peabody said...

The raspberries look like little jewels peaking out. Lovely.

cecile said...

hi joey! can you also email me about the buttermilk? i would love to try this cake too. i'll make sure to report back to you the results...

Shalum said...

oh wow! reading the post alone makes my mouth water. ditto on the mango melts!

veron said...

Oh this cake just sounds so good Joey! Buttermilk from carabao's milk...I never heard of that...and Pangasinan sea salt?
You shouldn't be guilty about using frozen raspberries if none are availble...most of them are frozen at the peak of their season and sometimes taste better than out-of-season ones.

ChichaJo said...

Hey Bea! You know you have a ready able and willing customer in me! :) Are you guys going to be in the market this Sunday? I am running out of soap too...zoiks! Wild raspberries in Sagada? That is awesome!!! Ok, another reason to make a trip there!

Hi Pille! I have the Steingarten book but have yet to read it...must find out what he says about salts! In any case, I like to discover different salts here for the most part because they are local and I can support local industries :) Also, being local, they are cheaper, which always helps! :)

Hi Simple Pleasures! Please email me (addy is on the sidebar) for the details :)

Thanks Peabody! I liked the way they looked too :)

Hi Cecile! Could you email me (addy is on the sidebar) for the details please? Thanks! :)

Hi Shalum! Glad you enjoyed the post! :)

Hi Veron! I have a supplier that sells (from a dairy farm) all sorts of dairy products from carabao’s milk – yogurt, cheeses, buttermilk, cream, butter...lovely, lovely stuff! Thanks for the reassurance on the frozen raspberries!

Rasa Malaysia said...

Hey Joey - the frozen raspberries look good and I am sure the cake is delicious regardless. :)

Anonymous said...

Very pretty cake! I saw some frozen raspberries in Healthy Options and this recipe would be a good one for that. May I know where you buy buttermilk? I am so in search for it. Have tried adding cream of tartar to milk but it results to a too sour taste for me. Thanks!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Bee! Thank you! :) I like them very much :)

Hi Anonymous! Please email me (addy is at the sidebar) for the details! :)

Suzana said...

How did I miss this lovely treat?? Nothing wrong with the occasional splurge - as we say in portuguese "not always and not never" (sounds terrible in english, I know!!).

Looks beautiful and surely is delicious, Joey. :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Suzana! Hehe, I get it though :) I firmly believe in treating oneself every once in a while! :)

Barbara said...

I use frozen raspberries in my clafouti 'cos fresh are way to expensive here in Queensland.

creampuff said...

Wow.

Just wow!

I don't come here nearly enough, Joey!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Barbara! They are expensive here too! Aside from the fact that we hardly ever get them fresh!

Hi Ivonne! Thanks! You are always welcome :)

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious! Could you tell me where can I get fresh buttermilk?
Thanks!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anonymous! Please email me (addy is at the sidebar) for the details! :)

nicole said...

This looks so good! Any baked good with "salt-kissed" in the name has got to be tasty.

Cheryl said...

I usually see the Dasol brand sea salt in Dagupena restaurant here in Pangasinan =)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nicole! That’s what I thought too about its name! :)

Hi Cheryl! Thanks for the tip...I see that brand here too in Manila! Will check it out :)

jimmy jons said...

I'll tell you something miss breakfast pants. I don't need nobody to tell me how to eat my vegetables ! Go catch a cork screw. ssssshhmeeaaaah!

Rebeca said...

Looks delicious! I love baking with buttermilk, and the fresh raspberries sound wonderful. Perfect summer dessert!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rebeca! I’ve only recently started baking with buttermilk...loving it too :)

Hazel said...

Will it make a difference if I use fresh berries instead of those canned? I mean, canned berries tend to be sweeter, or it's just my palate?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Hazel! I think fresh berries would be much better than fresh...they just aren't as easily available over here :) And when they are they're so expensive!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Oh I just LOVE buttermilk. Amazing recipe! I'm now following :D