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Why Use Buttermilk at all in a Cake

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Why Use Buttermilk at all in a Cake

gothamette | Aug 12, 2012 11:28 AM

I made a recipe for a yellow cake from a well-known food blogger, who shall be nameless. She touted it as the best she has for birthdays...so I was intrigued.

It's your basic yellow two-step cake, except that it uses buttermilk. (With soda and baking powder as leavening.)

She warned that after adding the buttermilk to the sugar/butter mix, it will curdle. It did, but because of her warning, it didn't bother me. I added the flour, beat, and baked. Batter looked good, not curdled.

However....the cake itself was not optimal. It tasted good because the ingredients were good, but the crumb was a bit tough and there were holes in the cake.

I wonder whether that buttermilk, and the curdling, was the problem.

Why use buttermilk at all in a traditional cake? I think that most American cake recipes are recycled items from cookbooks of long ago, when buttermilk was the runoff from butter-making, and not the modern cultured product it is today.

Using buttermilk makes people feel all homey real American and authentic, but I suspect that its use in baking should be limited to specialty items.

What do the Chowhound experts think?

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