Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sourcream Raspberry Buttercake

It has been a long time since I have baked anything. I attribute that to lazy fingers and the lack of a more modern oven. What excuses! I know... No matter how I explain, I can never justify for not baking. Now that winter is well on its way; and I am constantly hungry due to the cold, I can no longer put off my desire for a proper butter cake. I need all the butter and sugar to insulate against the cold! I did try to get Sara Lee's pound cake instead of having to bake one myself, but it seems Sara Lee's pound cake is non-existent in Sydney. No choice, it's time to go back to the kitchen.

I currently live in an Australian house that must be at least 30 years old. Yes, it's like a little cottage house which comes with the a gas oven- an oven powered by real flames. There is a knob controlling the temperature by adjusting the fire and that is about it. How do you tell 180℃ from 200℃? Eye-power? Sense of touch? Years and years of experience? Temperature control, even in an electric oven is something I have yet to master, let alone a gas oven. But, if the people who pre-dates the electric oven can bake the most delicious cakes and breads, I'm sure I can too.

I have adapted the sourcream butter cake recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook. I have cut the sugar, omitted the poached pears and increased the raspberries. In the recipe, it says to scatter the raspberries on the top of the batter just before you bake it, so that the raspberries will sink into the batter while it bakes. I did that, but for some reason, the raspberries did not sink. It stayed on the top, some got burnt, some turned in to jelly, which gave a brilliant red colour to contrast the sea of dark gold. Rustic is as rustic does. A bit burnt around the edges, uneven cracks, but that precisely is the beauty of gâteau rustique.

Sourcream, Raspberry Butter Cake - adapted from Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook

28cm round tin (I used a 20X20cm square tin), bottom and sides lined, paper should protrude 1 inch (2.5cm)- makes 16

250g unsalted butter, softened
355g caster sugar (I cut it down to 250g, but not sweet enough. will use 300g next time)
a few drops vanilla essence
4 eggs
200g sourcream
300g self-raising flour (if using plain flour, add 15g baking powder)
200g raspberries (recipe specified fresh, but I used frozen. it works as well)

1. Preheat oven to 200℃. (I just jack mine up high)

2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla till pale and creamy.

3. Add eggs one at a time. Make sure the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.

4. Mix in sour cream in two batches.

5. Fold in flour in 2 batches. Mix till well-combined.

6. Scatter berries on top. (I'd probably mix the raspberries through next time)

7. Bake for 55 mins to 1 hour 15 mins, or until wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted.

8. Remove from oven, cool in tin for 10mins, turn out onto wire-rack to cool completely.

May store in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Conclusion: I was quite happy with the result, having feared the worst since I was still trying to figure out how to work the gas oven. I ended up turning it every half hour, changing tier after an hour and covering the top with baking paper during the last half hour. It was worth the effort. The butter cake was a little dry from staying in the oven for too long, but overall still moist. It was not sweet enough probably because sour cream dampens the sweetness from the sugar, which I found out from making this cake. Also the texture was quite fine due to the creaming method (I prefer larger crumb).

Yes yes, quite happy this time though I only ate one tiny slice of my much-awaited butter cake, I gave the rest away. Food should be shared, agree?


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