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Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, with vanilla and lemon
After a short blast of winter, which included only two weeks of “proper” cold, Brisbane has decided that spring is here. While the evenings can still be a little chilly, I’m back to bare legs and light cardigans during the day. I’m doing my best not to panic about how hot summer is going to be this year (la la la la la) and instead greet the rising of sap and birthing of lambs with an air of joyful exuberance – and that of course means cake, of which there has been entirely too little on this blog lately.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, sliced
Moist and tender, vanilla- and lemon-scented, studded with raspberries turned tangy by the heat: this cake is downright delectable! It’s the perfect cake for a ladies afternoon tea and indeed, I took it to one recently. It was actually a lingerie party, not the naughty kind mind you, the sensible kind; about support rather than sex, where the proprietor dispenses advice on optimum laundering techniques for extending the life of your undergarments, as opposed to various “shades of grey”. Anyway, the elegant simplicity of the cake was perfect at our party, served with tea and a little sparkling wine, as we innocently chattered about mother’s-in-law and pregnancies, kittens and lace. (This of course gets me wondering about what kind of cake should be matched with a naughty lingerie party? Chocolate, it would have to be chocolate. Maybe dirty Mud Cake or boozy Black Forest?).

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, ready to be baked
You don’t have to crook your finger as you daintily eat this cake (although you may find that you want to). All you really need to know is that everyone who eats it will go back for seconds. Even your mega-macho friend who loves the gym will beg you to make one, just for him. I’ve actually had the recipe printed off and waiting to be trialled for five years, which is devastating as I could have (would have) been making it all this time if I had known how good it was.

Close up of Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, showing the crunchy sugar topping

Did you notice my new napkins, made by Yardage Design?

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake and napkins by Yardage Design
I spotted them at a market outside GOMA a few weeks ago. The vibrancy of the hot pink print against the variegated grey of the linen was just stunning in the winter sun and I simply had to have them. True to my uncultured roots (New Zealand has more of a paper serviette tradition), I fear that they are too lovely to use on sticky mouths and fingers. I’ll reserve them, I’ve resolved, for draping, covering and embellishment purposes only:

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake and napkins by Yardage Design

That’s all from me, a bit of froth and frivolity is all I feel like conjuring today (it’s a public holiday). Here’s to napkins and cake, tea parties and underwear, the scent of spring and the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka). I’ll try to be back, next post, with serious reflection and meat. Frou frou!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

From Smitten Kitchen

130g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
56g unsalted butter, at room temperature
146g sugar, plus a further 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup (roughly 140g) fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 205°C/400°F . Butter and flour a 25cm round cake pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Beat the butter and first measure of sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add the egg and beat well.

Switching the mixer to a low speed, mix in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Ensure that each time you only mix until just combined. Transfer the batter into the cake pan and gently spread to fill the pan. Scatter the raspberries over the top and sprinkle with the final 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, which should take between 18-25 minutes depending on your oven. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.


  1. Lemon, raspberries and buttermilk. You don’ t have to say anymore, as I am hooked. And perfect for this time of year in Brisvegas. Will add it to the TBM (To Be Made) Pile. Your photography is inspiring too, and I also have made a mental note to check out the Instagram fabric page you mentioned.

    • I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it took me to make this cake! It is indeed perfect for this time of the year, although perhaps not for the chilly weekend we just had. True to form though, Brisbane is back in spring-mode today. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. I use a lot of buttermilk for baking lately, isn´t it a great ingredient? raspberries are surely a perfect match, yet I always eat them up before I get to do anything with them – Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • There is nothing like fresh raspberries, granted, yet this cake showcases them so well that I promise you that you won’t regret not eating them 🙂

  3. I have literally just taken this out of the oven and it’s delicious! I make my own butter so always have more buttermilk than I can use. This was a different way to use it up. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ema Jones

    I’m adding some slivered almonds to this cake and topping it with chocolate syrup ❤ ❤

    • Hi Ema, sounds like a great idea, although it’s such a delicate cake so I’d probably go with flaked almonds over slivered. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. Wooooo yum … Totally stealing this recipe! Lurve anything with Raspberries in it … And from a fellow Brisvegasian send some of your spring time warmth down to Sydney its still a little to cold to get around without a decent jacket on unless you are running!!

    • It’s astounding to me how fast this winter has been. I’m originally from Auckland, where at this time of year we are usually looking forward to another 2 months of misery before removing said jacket! QLD weather is just amazing – how could you leave?!

  6. Ohhh this looks so good… buttermilk makes the BEST cakes! Loving the idea of lemon and raspberry too, can’t wait to try this one with a nice cup of tea, all lady-like and what not 😉 hehe

    • Doesn’t it just? I’ve only recently started using it in baking. I always used to substitute plain yoghurt whenever a recipe called for buttermilk and it always seemed to work fine, but trying the real thing has been a revelation! Thanks for stopping by Jess 🙂

  7. This looks divine!! I love your new napkins too, I agree, they are too pretty to be used on mucky fingers 🙂

    • If you get a chance, check out the link to Yardage Design’s Instagram page. They have a fantastic range of linen and printed items…I’ve become an instant fan. Thanks for commenting Hayley 🙂

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