When my daughter was about eight or nine years old her Christmas gift to me was a notebook with Mum’s Recipes copied in her best handwriting in red ink (to match the red scooter on the cover) and a pen. For years she has been diligently scribing all her favourite recipes into the notebook for me. These days you can only just make out the faded Mum’s Recipes on the cover, and leafing through I notice that it is only until very recently that anything other than sweet treats have been included.
The recipe for this well-loved cake has been included in that very special notebook. I can’t remember its provenance as the original copy of the recipe is missing in action. I have a kitchen drawer full of recipes that I have torn out of magazines and newspapers or begged from family and friends that I need to sort through. If it’s in that drawer, I haven’t been able to locate it…yet.
It’s the buttermilk that makes this cake so light and moist. You can substitute almost any berries for the raspberries. In the winter months I use very lightly stewed or baked rhubarb with roasted hazelnut crumbs. I like the tartness of green granny smith apples, but you could substitute any variety of your favourite apple or even pear. It’s a great cake for morning or afternoon tea, and perfect for school lunch boxes.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Apples and Raspberries
Makes 12 pieces
150 g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (320 g) caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups (250 g) self-raising flour, sifted
2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
200 g raspberries, fresh or frozen
icing sugar, to dust
PREHEAT oven to 180C, non fan-forced
GREASE and line a 25cm square baking tin.
BEAT butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
STIR in the flour and buttermilk and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and stir through until just combined.
SPREAD a third of the batter in an even layer over the base of the prepared tin.
ARRANGE apple slices evenly over the layer of the mixture.
SPOON remaining mixture over the apple and smooth the surface.
SCATTER with raspberries, lightly pressing them into the batter.
BAKE for 40 minutes, middle rack position, until cooked and golden.
COOL in tin for 30 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack.
DUST with icing sugar when cold, and cut into squares.