Alice Medrich's low fat Buttermilk Pound cake and a warm thank you!

I had an exciting time playing host to my first ever event- Kerala Kitchen. It was so much fun and such a learning experience! I love that I now have a readily available collection of brilliant Kerala dishes some familiar and some completely new (well atleast to me), for whenever the Mallu food mood strikes!
Most of all it was so wonderful to connect with you amazingly talented and lovely ladies :) So this post is a warm thank you to to all those who graced the very first Kerala Kitchen-
 Ria my co-host of Ria's CollectionSwapna of Swapnas CuisineHappy cook of My Kitchen TreasuresSadhana of Sensible VegSneha of  Inspirational art of cookingNashira of PlatefulDivya of EasycookingZareena of  My experiments with foodRamya of Hot from my ovenSarah of Spoonful of Delight as well as the lovely Bharathy and Priya who I hope will also join us this month over at Ria's collection.

I baked you all a Buttermilk Pound cake filled with custard and topped with some fresh strawberries! My mom had sent a package including vanilla beans, nutmeg and cardamoms from my uncle's plantation in Kerala through my awesomely sweet cousin who sent it to me as soon as she got back to the US. I was eager to use it so I added a "Kerala" touch to the pound cake by including the vanilla bean and some cardamoms :) I am sure you all will love it! It is very simple to make too and leaves you with a very light feeling and since it's lower in fat, you'll feel less guilty about having finished the whole loaf in just 3 days as I did :/

It is another gem from my current obsession Alice Medrich's book on low fat desserts. I am also sending this to the awesome Deeba ( Am so kicked to be sending her a recipe for once !) as I was telling her that the only thing wrong with this book is that I want to make every single thing in it! Unfortunately I don't think Alice Medrich ( however sweet she is) will like it very much if I posted everything in her book, so I urge you all to check out this amazing book for your selves! I might actually cook my way through this book, but I promise to only post one or two more recipes, and only ones which are already online. 

Vanilla Cardamom Buttermilk Pound Cake

Recipe source: Very slightly modified from Alice Medrich's Buttermilk Pound Cake  Pg 21 from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat desserts

Yeild: One Loaf pan Serves 10-12 Work time: about 30 mins plus baking time Calories per serving: 171 Fat: 5.44 G Cholesterol: 30.9 Mg

1-1/2 Cups (6 ounces) Sifted All purpose flour ( I used unbleached)
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
3/8 tsp salt ( I omitted this as I used salted butter)
1 egg
2 egg whites
1-1/4 Tsp Vanilla extract ( I used one vanilla bean instead)
1/2 cup low fat Buttermilk ( I poured 1-1/2 tsp of lemon juice into a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled it up with low fat milk. Stir and leave for 2 mins after which the milk would have curdled and can be used as a buttermilk substitute as from the brilliant Joy the baker)
5 tbsp unsalted butter ( if using salted, omit the salt as mentioned above)
1 cup sugar
Optional - (My addition):
2-3 cardamom pods powdered and skin removed or 1/8 tsp cardamom powder

  • Keep all ingredients at room temp
  • Put the rack in the lower third of the Oven and preheat to 325 F
  • Spray a 5 cup loaf pan or bundt pan or (check here for using other pans) with vegetable oil spray or grease it with vegetable oil which I did. (I also used a wax paper sheet cut to fit the bottom of my loaf pan and that made it much easier- note if using wax paper maker sure it is completely covered with batter else it will burn)
  • Whisk to combine flour, baking pwd, baking soda and salt. Sift together to aereate and combine
  • In another bowl whisk the whole and egg whites
  • Cut the butter into chunks and in a stand mixer or electric beater, beat to soften about 1 min ( along with vanilla bean if using that has been slit and scraped- reserve the shell to put in your sugar bowl to make vanilla sugar or to make the custard) 
  • Add sugar gradually beating for about 3 more mins
  • Gradually dribble the beaten eggs into the mixture and beat at med-high for 2-3 mins
  • On low speed add a third of the flour mixture
  • On med-high speed add half the buttermilk with vanilla extract  (if that's what you're using instead of the vanilla bean) and the powdered cardamom ( if using)
  • On low speed beat in half of the flour, then buttermilk on med and rest of the flour on low, scraping the bowl where necessary until well combined
  • Alice says the batter may look curdled at this point which is ok. Mine didn't look very curdled.
  • Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for about 65-70 mins or if using bundt pan- 35- 40 mins until the cake starts to pull from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 mins on a rack 
  • Run a  knfe around the edges of the pan and invert to unmold the cake.
Verdict: This cake is a little dry to me on the first day as is noted in the recipe. So I served two slices sandwiched with some vanilla custard from here ( omitting the cocoa and adding the vanilla bean shell- to make vanilla custard instead)
I also sliced a few strawberries thinly and put them in a bowl with about  a teaspoon of sugar sprinkled over them and left them for a few minutes so that the juices leak out. Then I drizzled it over the cake slices and topped with the strawberries.

I kept the rest of the cake in a container in the fridge ( although Alice advocated wrapping it tightly in cling film) and on the second day it was much moister as stated in the book and tasted the best on the third.

It can be stored well wrapped at room temp for 3-4 days and frozen for up to 2 months.

Variations: I think this cake would also be awesome with some lemon zest and lemon extract.
This is also perfect to be soaked with soaking liquid to make it moister, and covered in glaze because it is not overly sweet.

Soaking liquid: 3 tbsp rum & 3 tbsp brandy simmered with 2 tbsp sugar for about 2 mins. once cool, poke holes on the cake with toothpicks and spoon the soaking liquid slowly over the cake set on a rack with a plate below it to catch the drippings.

Glaze: Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp each brandy and rum or 2 tbsp lemon juice /orange juice and spread or drizzle over the cake.


  1. ♥ it my dear. Have it bookmarked. How lovely that your Mum sent you spices form your uncle's plantation... you've put them to great use!

  2. It was so sweet of you to post a cake for us !!!

  3. So sweet of you to bake and post a cake for us dear!!! I love buttermilk cake.. will try this soon!

  4. With cardamom oh I can imagine the aroma and the taste. Looks so so delish.
    Last time when we wer ein kerala we went to Munnar and I bought 75 vanilla beans from there :-)

  5. lovely recipe ! this one is bookmarked !

  6. Wow thanks R. Would be honoured and look forward to joining the second session of Kerala kitchen.

  7. Aw, that's so sweet of you Magpie! We are touched and honored. This whole thing has been a wonderful experience for me as well, esp getting to know really fabulous people like y'all, albeit virtually. You guys rock!!

  8. can i ask how come the cake turned out too dry? after you added the filling, did you find it better then?

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