Presentation aside, the recipe was compelling. I made it and served it as a slice of cake, and also as a little parfait. The three recipes are all very simple and the flavors work really well together. I was especially excited about the gin-poached cherries, which are just lovely. I had some on yogurt the next morning and they made me very happy. The sour milk jam is also great (we used the extra as a dip for strawberries), as is the cake. I am realizing that sometimes cakes are too moist for me, and this one approaches that territory. I must be in a minority here, since moist cakes seem highly valued in our culture. In any case, this is a nice recipe to have on hand as we look toward winter.
Buttermilk Cake with Sour Milk Jam and Gin-Poached Cherries (from Bon Appetit)
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
Sour milk jam:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup crème fraîche
Gin-poached cherries and assembly:
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- 1 cup gin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons juniper berries
- Fennel fronds (for serving, optional)
- Special equipment: A 9″-diameter cake pan
For buttermilk cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour pan. Whisk baking soda, salt, and 2 cups flour in a medium bowl; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and 1 1/4 cups butter in another medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and scraping down sides of bowl.
Reduce mixer speed to low and, with motor running, add dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
Bake until cake is golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool before turning out.
DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
For sour milk jam:
Bring milk and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar; reduce heat and simmer gently, whisking occasionally, until mixture measures a scant 1/4 cup, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; let cool (it will thicken as it sits). Whisk in crème fraîche, cover, and chill.
DO AHEAD: Jam can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
For gin-poached cherries and assembly:
Bring cherries, gin, sugar, juniper berries, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer until liquid is syrupy, 6-8 minutes. Let cool.
Spoon a few dollops of jam onto plates. Tear cake into pieces and arrange around jam. Top with cherries and fennel fronds.
DO AHEAD: Cherries can be poached 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.