This jam filled cake is something you slide into. Slitter, even. Warmth and sliding do, after all, seem to go hand in hand. For example, when my sister and I were children my mother would take us to the local swimming pool from morning to night. Those days of laziness were punctuated by long stretches spent splashing around until exhaustion. And the most delicious part, the most completely satisfying, was climbing out of the pool and sliding directly onto the concrete, belly first. That is the very definition of basking. While we played, the deck dutifully soaked up all of the heat from the sun and held it for us until we were ready. And the only way to get it, was to slide right on.
If you need a similar kind of lush warmth to press up against during these colder winter days, this would do very well. It's not, however, about complicated focused enjoyment, with many layers of flavor and texture. It's a simple little thing, like warm summer skin.
One slice, on a plate, with a cup of tea. Be sure to go belly first.
Buttermilk Country Cake
Cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible
It's a good idea to have all of your ingredients at room temperature before you start. If you forget (as I may have) things will most likely still be alright as long as your butter has a bit of time to warm up.
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
Your favorite jam for the center
Powdered Sugar for garnish
Oven preheated to 350.
In a medium bowl, gently combine the yolks, about 1/4 of the buttermilk and the vanilla.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients (this means everything but the butter). With the paddle attachment, mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining buttermilk and continue to mix until everything is moistened. Increase to medium speed (high if you're using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then begin gradually adding the egg mixture, which should be done in 3 batches. Beat for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides once more.
Pour the batter into a prepared 9" in pan (prepared by having been greased, lined with parchment paper, then greased again and floured) and smooth the top. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. The edges will not pull away from the pan until it is removed from the oven. (At least, they shouldn't. Try not to let them.)
Let the cake cool still in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pan and store it top up so it doesn't split.
For this cake, I allowed it to cool overnight. Then, using a serrated bread knife, I split the layer in half and removed the top. I spread as much jam in the middle as I thought I would like and then replaced the top half. A little snowfall of powdered sugar was all that was needed to finish it off.