10.27.11 Sweet Bread
Don't get your knickers in a twist, I'm not giving you a recipe to prepare strange and frightening innards. Not that I wouldn't! But no, this is considerably more tame. Although I hope it make take you out of your comfort zone as far as baked goods go. Why? Because it's made with a lot of buckwheat flour and that can have scary health-food store connotations. Trust me, you don't need to be wearing Birkenstocks to go for this delicious cake. It's actually inspired by an incredible muffin from Peels
that I've enjoyed on several occasions. The pastry chef there, Shuna Fish Lydon, really rocks, as you can see by her blog
, not to mention her addictive graham crackers, brown butter rice krispie cubes and other tweaked-homestyle treats. I've lauded her skills before
pungent rosemary, candied lemon peel and lemon marmalade infuse this cake with flavor
At Peels, the muffin from which this cake concept derives sits in the glass case looking like a bit of a wallflower compared to the gooey monkeybreads and glamorous graham crackers. But be forewarned: she's got flava! Billed as a "buckwheat muffin with rosemary and lemon marmalade," this unassuming little brown wren of a snack has a lot going on. I've put together a recipe that replicates it pretty well, though baking it as a loaf creates some fundamental differences. I recently acquired some silicone muffin cups
(great space-savers if you have a small kitchen), so I may try it again in this format.
browned butter adds another nutty note
Buckwheat is not a grain, and not even a grass, it's actually a pseudocereal. Not entirely sure what that means, but I do know it's highly nutritious. It's very rich in flavanoids, which are phytnutrients that contain lots of antioxidant power. It's also high in magnesium which is great for cardiovascular health. It won't spike your blood sugar like other carbs, so it makes an especially good breakfast food. It tastes quite earthy and dark and pairs well with sharp flavors like lemon and rosemary. Browned butter—see the foam turning color, above?—adds subtle hints of caramel and hazelnut.
Is it a dough if it doesn't rise? This feels thicker than a batter, but avoid overmixing so it stays tender.
In addition to stirring marmalade into the mix, you also glaze the top of the loaf with a thick layer of it. This helps the rosemary stick and creates a pleasingly chewy crust. The turbinado sugar sprinkled on top only adds to the textural delight.
I can't really describe to you the joy I felt in recreating this brilliant cake. I think it's a fitting tribute to the original.
I enjoyed mine unadorned, straight from the oven; dunked into tea; toasted with a little butter; and spread with apple butter. You can't go wrong, no matter how you slice it.
Buckwheat Marmalade Cake
makes one loaf
— 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
— 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free mix is fine)
— 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
— 1 teaspoon baking powder
— 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
— 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
— 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
— 1 large egg
— 1/4 cup lemon marmalade
— 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
— 1 teaspoon vanilla
— 1/4 cup candied lemon rind, minced
— 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
— 2 tablespoons salted butter, browned
— 2 tablespoons lemon marmalade
— 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
— 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350º.
Lightly grease a loaf pan.
Combine first 6 (dry) ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together next 5 (wet) ingredients until well combined. Gradually fold dry mixture into wet mixture, stirring minimally. Stir in lemon rind, minced rosemary and brown butter. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Brush remaining 2 tablespoons marmalade over surface. Arrange rosemary sprigs on top and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.