Tag: Buttermilk

Berry and Buttermilk Scones

Berry and Buttermilk Scones // Serious Crust

Berry and Buttermilk Scones // Serious Crust
Berry and Buttermilk Scones // Serious Crust

Tis the berry season. I feel like everywhere I go, I’m seeing piles of raspberries, blackberries, even some late season strawberries. I baked these scones about a month ago, but I haven’t quite had time to post it. The time is now! Amongst all the food my mom sent home with us from the beach, were a pint of marionberries and some buttermilk.

The weekend we came home, we had a three hour band practice, and I knew I was going to need some sustenance. And who can resist warm, freshly baked, delicious scones? No one. So I whipped some up in the morning, and brought them to band practice.

I feel like my bandmates are still not used to my bringing baked goods. When I bring them, they’re there to share. Why would I bring a basked of a dozen scones all for myself? I wouldn’t. With a little nudging, I finally got the guys to snack on some. They were still warm, and smelled like sugar and berries. They were really delicious. I only wish I’d had some lemon curd to slather on them.

Berry and Buttermilk Scones


3/4 – 1 cup fresh berries (I used marionberry, but raspberry or blackberry would work well too)
4 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbl baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup plus 1 Tbl cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks.
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted butter
brown or turbinado sugar for sprinkling


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix in the sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Using a pastry knife or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. You want the butter to be evenly mixed into the dry ingredients, in about pea-sized chunks.

Add the buttermilk and the berries, and mix the dough gently with a wooden spoon until it holds together well. If it seems a little dry, add a little more buttermilk to the dough, a couple tablespoons at a time. Flour a cutting board or countertop, and turn the dough out onto it. Pat the dough into a rectangle about an inch and a half thick. Using a circular cookie cutter (or a water glass, if you don’t have a cutter), cut out as many circles as you can, gather together the scraps, pat them out, and repeat. Place on the lined pan, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar (brown or turbinado).

Bake scones for 20-35 minutes, until the tops are golden brown at the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to cool for a few minutes until they’re nice and warm, but won’t scald your mouth. Serve with butter, lemon curd, jam, or any other toppings you like.

Weekend Finds 11:24:13

It has been an interesting week. Jonah has been in Buenos Aires since the 16th, and on Tuesday, I will pick him up at the airport in Seattle, where we’re spending Thanksgiving/akkuh. I spent a few days in Seattle with my dad and Darla doing some belated birthday celebrations, which was incredibly fun. Lots of eating and adventuring. Which leads me to the weekend finds. Getting ready for the holidays, plus a little adventuring.

1. Pumpkin Chai Bread

Pumpkin Chai Bread from Adventures in Cooking // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Pumpkin Chai Bread from Adventures in Cooking

I’ve been waiting to venture into the land of pumpkin flavored things, though I’m not sure why. This pumpkin chai bread made an appearance tonight for commune dinner. It was a big hit. I definitely recommend it for a sweet but not too sweet dessert.

2. Jaipur Avenue Chai

Jaipur Avenue Chai // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Jaipur Avenue Chai

When I go to my dad’s house (which I did this past week while Jonah was gone), they almost always have at least one box of Jaipur Avenue Chai in the cupboard. This chai is so rich and delicious, and I love the flavor profiles. Saffron is my favorite! I’ve been able to find it at a store in my neighborhood called Foster & Dobbs, but my sister, who lives in Berkeley, has been ordering it online. It would make a great host/ess gift for the holidays!

3. Jalapeno Cornbread and Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing

Jalapeno Cornbread and Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing from Local Milk // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Jalapeno Cornbread and Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing from Local Milk

While there are a lot of ingredients in this jalapeno cornbread and buttermilk biscuit stuffing, and you’ll have to make two other recipes before you can even start on the stuffing itself, this looks absolutely incredible. A delicious southern twist on traditional stuffing.

4. Not-your-normal Hanukkah treats

Frittelle Di Riso // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Frittelle Di Riso

I’ve been so focused on Thanksgivukkah that I’ve almost forgotten that Hanukkah lasts for eight whole nights, meaning lots of opportunities to try some different oil-laden delicacies. This article from the Kitchn has some neat suggestions, but I am particularly interested in trying frittelle de riso.

5. Bar Sajor

 Bar Sajor // Weekend Finds, Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Bar Sajor

This was (one of) my birthday surprise dinner(s) in Seattle. It’s one of Matt Dillon’s restaurants, a spot I’ve been wanting to go for a while now. The space was just beautiful, the staff was amazingly friendly and helpful and fun, and the food was spectacular. I can’t decide if my favorite dish was the chicken liver pate with delicata squash and chestnuts or the caramelized butter ice cream with chocolate chip cookies.

Restaurant Review: The Sugar Cube

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Not too long ago, The Sugar Cube was a little pink and brown cart, sitting outside Lardo’s eastside location. It was good, but you couldn’t do too much in the space of that cart. It was smaller than most that you see around Portland, and I certainly can’t imagine trying to frost a cake in there.

Now, The Sugar Cube has taken over a small, bright space on NE Alberta. (Warning: my grainy, dark iPhone pictures don’t quite do it justice.) There aren’t a lot of seats, but it seems to be enough, and coming here on a weekday morning to meet a friend for coffee and pastries, when it’s relatively quiet, makes you feel like you’re in on a very delicious secret. I was more than excited when my friend Elaine suggested it for coffee and pastries.

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The best part of their new shop is that the kitchen is twice the size of the front room, meaning pastry master Kir Johnson now has the space to make sugar sing. And boy, does it hit some high notes. I was there for breakfast, so I didn’t get any chocolatey or dessert-y treats, but I did indulge in the spiced buttermilk cornbread.

More like a slice of spice cake, but with the perfect notes of cornbread, it was doused with a unique salty molasses butter, which balanced out the sweetness perfectly with some more spice and salt. Elaine had the savory strata with mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and both goat and cheddar cheese. Delectable. And of course I brought Jonah home a couple of jammers – one was oat filled with strawberry rhubarb jam, and the other was poppyseed filled with a lemon curd.

Next time, I’m going for the sweets no matter what time of day it is. The ultimate brownies with olive oil and sea salt look too good to pass up.

Buttermilk Devil’s Food Cake

Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

My Mom’s birthday was a month ago today, so it seems appropriate that I’m sitting in a tea shop, writing this post, looking at pictures of her with the birthday cake I made for her.

My mother is a pretty damn incredible woman. I don’t know if I’ve told you about her before, but let me. When we were growing up, she was always encouraging us to play. I don’t just mean my sisters and I playing with each other, or playing with dolls, or playing with crafts, but in the larger sense too. She encouraged us to be adventurous, boisterous, and reach for the stars.

If we wanted to make cookies, she was there to help. If we wanted to go out for the basketball team (a mistake I made only once, trust me), she was there at every game. If we wanted to be in plays (which we did… a lot) she drove us to auditions, sat with us while we waited nervously, drove us to rehearsals, helped create costumes, and was always in the front row on opening night, grinning from ear to ear, and often mouthing the words to the songs along with us. She pushed my creativity, she pushed me to try really hard, to do anything I wanted to do. That’s an incredible woman.

When I went off to college and my parents split up, my mom and I had a rough time. It’s been a hard few years of rebuilding, getting to know each other again, and finding the foundation that we had built when I was younger. But it seems since her birthday, my mother’s true unbridled joy and adventure and creativity has reappeared. It has been slowly creeping back for the past couple of years, especially since she has found David, but in the past month, it seems like she’s here to stay.

This year was my mom’s 60th birthday (hopefully she doesn’t kill me for writing that…) and we went big. Rather, David went big with many many surprises, and we all helped scheme and plan. She was surprised four separate times: by the arrival of me, my older sister, and Jonah on Friday afternoon; the arrival of her mother, sister, brother-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law on Friday night; by my little sister’s arrival on Saturday morning; and by a surprise party with all of her friends and a live band on Saturday afternoon.

It was the most pure joy I’ve ever seen her exude. It was a beautifully sunny weekend, and on Sunday we all made dinner together, like families do. When I asked my mom what birthday cake she wanted, she said “That buttermilk devil’s food cake I used to make you guys for your birthdays.” Emily, my older sister, immediately remembered this cake, but it took me a while. My mom dug around in her recipe box and pulled out this magazine page from 1985. Under the title it says “Makes 10 servings at $0.88 each.”

I didn’t remember this cake until I smelled the frosting, and then it came rushing back, which seems appropriate. The cake, and that weekend, reinforced the woman that my mother is and always has been. It’s rich, deep chocolate with an unexpected but welcome twist from the buttermilk and sour cream, perfect for a birthday, but especially perfect for my mother.

Buttermilk Devil’s Food Cake


Devil’s Chocolate Cake

Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting the pans)
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs
3 1/2 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup boiling water
2 1/4 tsp vanilla

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

15 squares (1 oz. each) semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt


Devil’s Chocolate Cake

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter 3 9-inch round cake pans. Line the pans with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Dust the bottoms and sides of the pans with cocoa powder.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer (or whatever) beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until it’s light and fluffy too. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate. My aunt (the cookbook author) had a great tip for this. Anytime I mix warm ingredients (like melted chocolate) into eggs, I get nervous that the eggs are going to cook. Her tip was to start with a little bit, blend it, and then add the rest of it. It makes a big difference. To me anyway.

Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour, until it’s well combined. Stir in the boiling water and the vanilla and divide the batter equally into the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool them in their pans for 5-10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks and remove the parchment paper to cool the rest of the way.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, and beat in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat until it’s creamy and holds it’s shape. Be warned though, once this frosting cools, it hardens because of the chocolate. So frost your cake while the frosting is still soft and warm.

You may want/have to trim your cakes. I didn’t and it work ok. Put a layer on whatever plate you’re using to serve, and spread evenly with some of the frosting. Repeat with the remaining layers, and then frost the sides.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk, family, and lots of laughs.

Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler