Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Apples


Friday, February 18, 2011

Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Apples


If you have not already been able to determine by reading this blog, I have to admit, I love dessert. It really is one of my favorite things to prepare and eat. When I made this dessert, I had almost gone for about two weeks with no dessert (eeek!) Well, I would have an apple for dessert, but at the end of the day how heart-warming can a plain old apple be? The truth is that it can’t at least it was not till I remade it into a wonderful poached treat served alongside a tender buttermilk cake and whipped vanilla sour cream. That is how this dessert came together, Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Apples. According to the recipe, the cake is supposed to be nice and tender, although it came out a little bit on the drier side. I would probably add a little more buttermilk next time and swap out the butter for vegetable oil. Meanwhile the apples were the true star of the dish! I peeled, cored, and then cut them into quarters, which really allows them to cook through and soak up the flavors of the poaching liquid.

And what makes a good poaching liquid??? That is a very good question, and to be honest a poaching liquid can be just a simple mix of water, sugar, and some spices, or it can be a little more elegant and mixed with premium ingredients. I started off this poaching liquid with some Riesling, a sweet desert wine, then threw in some water, sugar, and our primary flavoring components a vanilla bean and cinnamon, apple’s best friend. Supporting flavours in this liquid included some grated orange zest and little clove for good measure. Stew up the apples for about 20-30 minutes or so and you get these wonderfully flavorful apples, perfumed with the inviting aroma of cinnamon and vanilla. Who could resist that?

Recipe: Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Apples
Adapted From: Food and Wine (February 2011 issue)
Active Cooking Time: 40 Min.
Total Cooking Time: 1 Hour, 40 Min
8 Servings
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • finely grated zest of lemon (i used an orange, cause i had no lemons, but I think lemon would work better here)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk


  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • one 750-milliliter bottle Riesling
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • one 3-inch long strip of orange zest
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 clove

Vanilla Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar


1. Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees-Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line it with 9-inch round of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper

2. In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand-mixer, or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium-high speed until light an fluffy. Add the yolks, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the lemon zest and the vanilla extract. At low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk until almost blended. With a rubber spatula, finish folding the mixture together just until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool completely.

3. Poach the Apples: Peel and quarter the apples. With a spoon scoop out the cores and discard. In a large saucepan, combine the Riesling, water, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and clove. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the apples and simmer over moderate heat turning a couple times, until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the apples to a large plate. Discard the cinnamon, vanilla bean, and orange zest. Boil the Riesling poaching liquid over high heat until reduced to 1 cup and syrupy about 15 minutes.

4. Make the Vanilla Sour Cream: Whip together the sour cream, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds.

5. Unmold the cake onto a plate and peel off the paper. Cut the cake into wedges and transfer to plates. Place an apple quarter alongside each cake slice. Top with some vanilla sour cream and serve.


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