Aug 28 2011

Urgency to Bake

I needed to use up the buttermilk. Of all the things in the refrigerator, this is what had the strongest pull to be utilized before the storm, just to be sure it would not go bad.

buttermilk coffee cake

There really is no rhyme or reason to this urgency. Buttermilk isn’t exactly an expensive ingredient. And if we lost power, it probably would hold up better than most food stuffs filling the fridge, considering it’s already equipped with the good bacteria to fight off the bad. Still, I *had* to use it. So I did.

First, I made a Buttermilk Coffee Cake, ensuring that, on top of the hoard of cereal, granola bars, and other non-perishables, we would have something homemade to get us on through the worst. Then I added Buttermilk Caramel Syrup, in hopes that it would finish off the rest of my supply while turning it into something more stable. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure my version is all that much more stable–I think I may have curdled the buttermilk while making it, insisting upon boiling for longer than noted since many syrups require such. In any case, after I was done, there remained more buttermilk in the carton, so I guess my plan to use it up didn’t exactly work.

buttermilk coffee cake

I am happy to report that we weathered Irene well. We managed to not lose power or have our basement flood (the latter being thanks, in part, to the former, so that the sump pump could continue doing its job). Many people were not so fortunate, even in my own city. CL&P, the local power company, estimates nearly 700,000 customers in our state without power right now. By comparison, 1985′s Hurricane Gloria–to which Irene has been likened many times in the last few days–resulted in 477,000 homes without power. Irene did not hit Connecticut as a hurricane, but even as a tropical storm, she had a fierce temper and a lot of havoc to wreak. Those who have been affected by her wrath, you are in my thoughts. I do realize how lucky we have been. I hope power is restored promptly for you and that you and your loved ones are safe. The rest of the stuff can always be replaced, no matter how grim it may seem. As long as you are well, that is what matters most.

This Buttermilk Coffee Cake is in your honor. May you be able to enjoy it soon, as well, and celebrate surviving Hurricane Irene. Just in time for the next round after Labor Day weekend…

buttermilk coffee cake

Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fluffy coffee cake that makes a great starter--or even dessert
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Serves: 12
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup (12 Tbsp) cold Kerrygold butter, cut up
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1⅓ cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugars, and butter with a pastry mixer, or your hands, until you have coarse crumbs. Reserve ½ cup of the crumbs.
  3. To the rest, add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mixing thoroughly.
  4. In a separate small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add to them the buttermilk and mix.
  5. Fold the buttermilk/egg mix into the other ingredients, mixing until just wet.
  6. Spread batter into the prepared 9x13 baking pan.
  7. Add the nuts to the reserved crumb mix and stir. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool slightly, then serve warm.

This post is featured on Add a Pinch‘s Mingle Monday this week! Check it on out–you never know what great posts you’ll find!

Mingle Monday

About the author

Carrie @ poet in the pantry

Carrie is a home baker and amateur photographer who dabbles in writing and poetry.


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  1. Mike@The Culinary Lens

    This looks so good and you obviously enjoyed using the buttermilk. Nice to see you using the butter I grew up on.
    So glad you got through Irene in one piece. I id fine too, I just ha cabin fever up on the 8th floor as I did not want to use elevator.

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      I don’t blame you for not using the elevator–last place I’d want to be if the power went out, or worse! Cabin fever is definitely setting in. Wind seems to actually be blowing stronger now than it was 8 hours ago, which is a shame since we put all the plants back outside. At least the worst of the rain is over.

      Kerrygold butter is soooo good. I don’t use it all the time because of the cost but when I’m able to stock up at a sale, it ends up in all my baked goods. :)

  2. Marti

    KERRYGOLD? Isn’t that the Irish stuff? Geez woman, THAT’S THE INGREDIENT TO SAVE.. .AND YOU ARE BAKING WITH IT?

    Gracious, you are living large!

    Congrats on keeping the basement dry, by the way…

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      Well, I got a great deal on it so when you have it, why not bake with the best? :) We were very lucky here–so many surrounding us were not.

  3. Annapet

    Glad you weathered Irene well. I have to start buying Kerrygold Products. Had the opportunity to sample their products at SF Chefs. I ate a cube of butter thinking it was cheese, LOL ;-).

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      The thing is, their butter is so good, you almost could just eat cubes of it! ;)

  4. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

    I tried baking my first coffee cake this year, pioneer womans recipe, and truly I have never had a cake exceed my expectations quite so much! ever since then i basically dream of coffee cake, this looks so so gorgeous and (if i can pry myself away from PW’s recipe!) I might well give it a go :)

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      There’s always room for more coffee cake! ;)

  5. Mark

    Great recipe. I really like the plates too. I would love to enjoy one of these with my morning coffee. Thanks for the post.

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      Thanks! Very tasty. The plates are from TJ Maxx. A food blogger’s dream since you can buy by the plate. :)

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