It is customary in Brazil to have a simple light cake for breakfast, afternoon tea or coffee. By ‘light’ I refer to the texture and not calories or fat content; since cakes don’t usually feel as heavy as their ingredients. My mother has a wonderful recipe for a simple breakfast cake in which I decided to add homemade buttermilk instead of milk for the liquid component. I usually save the leftover buttermilk from making ricotta to use in breads and cakes (click here for ricotta and buttermilk recipe: Homemade Ricotta – buttermilk from ricotta will last a week or two in the refrigerator).
I have to admit I never buy buttermilk. When I don’t have my homemade version, I simply add one tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes. This method creates the sour milk flavor of buttermilk (click here to see other tips and substitutions).
About this recipe
This recipe is wonderful and requires no butter or oil and simply uses eggs and buttermilk to give the cake its moisture. I have reduced the amount of sugar from my mother’s recipe and as mentioned above, substituted buttermilk for the milk. I added lemon zest for an extra touch of flavor and sweet fragrance. This is a low fat and delightfully fluffy cake, so go ahead and treat yourself to more than one serving, I guarantee you won’t be able to eat just one slice!
Lemon Buttermilk Breakfast Cake (low fat)
Yields 16 servings (using a 10-inch/26cm diameter baking pan)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking Temperature: 350°F/180°C
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup of buttermilk (click here for homemade version or for substitution)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- Butter (for greasing baking pan)
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter and flour the baking pan and set aside.
- First separate the egg yolks from the whites and beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. Set aside.
- Note: Beating the egg whites separately incorporates more air into the batter; which is a very important step to achieving a soft fluffy cake.
- Combine egg yolks, lemon zest, and sugar and beat until achieving a smooth and pale yellow cream.
- Sift flour and add to the egg cream mixture. Mix at low speed while slowly adding the buttermilk. Increase speed to medium until well blended.
- Slowly combine 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter (the batter will feel a bit “heavy” so incorporate the egg whites slowly not to take away the “airiness”). When well mixed, slowly combine the rest of the egg whites into the mixture.
- Add the baking powder and slowly incorporate it into the batter; do not over mix at this point.
- Note: Baking powder is very delicate and should always be added as a last step whenever possible.
- Slowly pour mixture into greased and floured baking pan.
- Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes (depending on size of pan and your stove) until the top is golden brown (you can also measure by sticking a toothpick in the cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is done).
- Allow cake to slightly cool before removing from pan.
Serve the cake with fruits, jam or on its own, at breakfast or as a snack anytime of the day. Enjoy!