Buttermilk raisin cake

Whenever I mention that we have an allotment, the reaction invariably is: That’s wonderful, but isn’t that an awful lot of work?
The answer is: it’s not that bad, because we garden along the permaculture lines, which means no digging and lots of mulch which significantly reduces the need to weed and water. And anyway, I don’t mind a bit of exercise and the time spent in the garden is some of my happiest (don’t ask the kids how they feel about spending time at the allotment).
Of course, less work is all very well, but we still want an allotment to yield as much as possible. And how does the yield of permaculture gardens compare to the yield of traditional (organic) plots?
Nobody knows. There are next to no data available on the yield of permaculture plots in the Netherlands. And so this season, we are going to participate in a little project that aims to shed a little light on the matter. Several permaculture gardeners are going to measure and weigh their produce and share the results.
Last Sunday was the first meeting of our little group, at our place, so that people could see our forest garden and permaculture allotment. unfortunately, this is about the worst time to be giving garden tours: at the allotment there are just a few last winter vegetables, and in our forest garden, the perennial vegetables are only beginning to grow. If it were not for the crocuses, you wouldn’t believe it’s almost spring here.

But at least there was cake with the coffee.

This is a guilt-free cake – it is sweetened with dried fruits and natural sweeteners, it contains no butter. Something you can feel good about putting into your kids’ lunchbox.

It’s moist, it keeps well – an ideal everyday cake.

Buttermilk raisin cake
From Inneke Jansen: Smullen met gebak

About the rising agent: the Dutch recipe calls for cream of tartar, but the cream of tartar baking powder (“Wijnsteenbakpoeder” for Dutch readers) I use actually contains some baking soda, too. Alternatively, you can use commercial baking powder. If you want to read more about making your own baking powder, look here: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/my-own-baking-powder-self-raising-flour/

125 g raisins and dried currants
250 g unbleached flour
3 tsp cream of tartar baking powder (or 2 tsp cream of tartar + 1 tsp baking soda)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp barley mal syrup or rice syrup (or more honey)
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
250 ml buttermilk

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let stand for about half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Grease a 1 liter loaf pan with butter or oil and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, honey, syrup, spices and salt. Gradually add buttermilk and mix well until you have a smooth batter. Add the drained raisins and currants and mix. Pour the batter into the pan and bake the cake for about 60 min, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

9 comments for “Buttermilk raisin cake

  1. Erin
    19/03/2012 at 11:59

    Thank you so much for the addendum! I live in the Netherlands, as well, but because I’m originally American, I import a lot of my ingredients. You are right – I was using pure Cream of Tartar. I’m off to try another batch. Hartstikke bedankt!

    • vera@gtc
      19/03/2012 at 13:11

      Better luck this time! One more thing (but you probably know that): it helps if all ingredients are at room temperature.

  2. Erin
    19/03/2012 at 10:51

    Just made it, and a few things:
    – The batter was EXTREMELY thick – 250 mL seemed way off and should’ve possibly been 300.
    – Mine did not rise like yours; it came out of the oven hard and relatively flat.

    I just bought all of my ingredients so I could try this out 100% fresh (as possible). I mean, it tasted okay, but I was very disappointed. I’ve never had a bread turn out this way, and I’ve been baking 20 years! Wonder what went wrong.

    • vera@gtc
      19/03/2012 at 11:42

      Hello Erin,
      I am very sorry the recipe did not work for you! The batter is indeed thick, but that should not be a problem, I always use this amount of buttermilk.
      The problem is more likely the rising agent: the recipe specified cream of tartar and I just checked the brand I am using (available in Natural food stores here in the Netherlands) called “Wijnsteenbakpoeder” (cream of tartar baking powder) only to discover that it contains some baking soda too. I found this excellent site that gives a great baking powder recipe: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/my-own-baking-powder-self-raising-flour/
      So probably, if yours is pure cream of tartar, adding 1 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp cream of tartar should be about right. I am also sure that it would work with “normal” baking powder, perhaps a slightly smaller amount should be enough.
      Sorry again, it was a Dutch recipe that did not translate well to English! Thank you for pointing that out, I will add that to the recipe.

  3. Pingback: cake | Pearltrees
  4. 18/03/2012 at 20:51

    Ziet er heerlijk uit! Korte lijst met ingrediënten, deze staat op de planning!

  5. 18/03/2012 at 19:45

    This cake looks and sounds marvelous!!! I love the photos!

    • vera@gtc
      18/03/2012 at 19:56

      Thank you! It is a lovely everyday cake and easy to make!

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