Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Glaze
From Geoff Last
This is a great, flavourful cake, thanks to the addition of buttermilk, which keeps it moist and lends it a nice tang. The mascarpone cream in the middle kicks it up a notch or two. In the summer, I substitute seasonal berries for the chocolate glaze.
2 c. unbleached white flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (1/2 c.)
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 c. buttermilk (shake well before measuring)
8 oz. mascarpone cream cheese (substitute other cream cheese if unavailable)
1 c. chilled whipping cream
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. whipping cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, not more than 60% cacao, if marked, finely chopped
2 t. light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan with parchment paper and butter bottom and sides of pan. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in buttermilk at low speed until well mixed and then add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined. The batter will be very thick. Transfer it to cake pan smoothing out the top and rapping the pan on the counter a couple of times to settle the batter. Bake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes and then run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan and release the sides. Invert the cake onto a platter and remove parchment paper. Transfer the cake back onto the serving platter until ready to assemble. The cake should cool for at least a half hour before completing – this is a good time to make the glaze.
Beat the mascarpone, cream and sugar in a large bowl until mixture holds stiff peaks. Halve the cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. This is the only tricky part of the recipe. Do it carefully checking the outside as you go to try and get the cut as even as possible. Remove the top half of the cake carefully (the removable bottom of a tart pan is handy for this) and spread the cream mixture over the bottom half of the cake and then replace the top half.
Glaze the cake.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Put the chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let stand 1 minute. Gently whisk until smooth, then stir in the corn syrup. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. The glaze will thicken. Pour the glaze onto the centre of the cake and spread it to the edges and over the sides with a spatula. Serves 8 - 12. (This cake can be made a day ahead and refrigerated; it is even better the next day.)
Wine: A sweet sherry works nicely with this cake; you can’t go wrong with Lustau’s East India Solera - $22 for 375ml.