Holidays, cherries and buttermilk cake


Summer - thank you for coming! And just in time for Christmas. We are saving our pennies for a week at the beach at the end of January so between Christmas and New Years are staying home and catching up with visiting family. My gorgeous cousin Nicci and her family came to dinner last night, we had gravlax with honey mustard sauce (recipe here by clever local cook and food writer Adelaide Harris, she wrote it for Gourmet Traveller magazine in 2009 - fantastic and easy) and then a pretty uninspiring but toddler-friendly dinner of marinated drumsticks, potato salad and corn on the cob. Dessert was a simple but really lovely buttermilk cake with honey and cherries. The recipe (below) was inspired by this one from Smitten Kitchen.  

It’s cherry time in Orange, and driving to and from town the signs are everywhere; advertising for both cherry pickers and sales. Yesterday Alice and I picked a haul from the Vardenega family’s orchard on the slopes of Mount Canobolas. Back home we sprinkled some on the top of our buttermilk cake and pickled the rest (recipe below) to have with a carpaccio of venison (recipe to come) with horseradish cream for New Years Eve.

Buttermilk cake with cherries and honey

1 cup self-raising flour

50g unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup caster sugar

zest of one orange

2 tbsp aromatic honey (I love white stringy bark from local apiarists Goldfields)

1 large egg

3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 cup cherries, pitted

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 tbsp raw sugar
 Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 25cm round cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and whisk until well combined. Beat in the honey and zest. Fold through the flour, alternating with the buttermilk. Pour into the cake tin and smooth down the top. Scatter with the cherries, almonds and dust with the sugar. Bake for 20/25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for five minutes and then let cool on a rack. Serve with thick cream or ice cream.

Pickled cherries
Recipe adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion
These are beautiful with venison and other game dishes.

1 kg cherries, de-stalked
700g sugar
500ml white wine vinegar
350ml apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp cloves
1tbsp black peppercorns

Place everything except for the cherries in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool completely and then pour over cherries and seal in sterilised jars. Keep for months and months.


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