Buttermilk for baking

Buttermilk is an interesting ingredient that is often overlooked. Of course it has a long history of use in many cultures – I grew up with buttermilk as a staple in our home, and Northern European cultures also drink plenty of it. But somehow the benefits of using it for cooking aren't always appreciated.

It’s a creamy, low-fat way of adding moisture and depth of flavour to your baked goods without adding extra fat. I used it to make a fresh buttermilk lemon and poppyseed loaf.  This is a delicious little cake that was not only simple to make but just might be your new favourite.
The buttermilk added richness to the other simple ingredients. Lemon made an appearance, along with crunchy little poppy seeds. The smell of the cake baking in the oven was heavenly! You should definitely try this one.

buttermilk lemon and poppyseed loaf
makes 1 loaf
*use organic where possible

55g butter (about 1/4 cup), softened
25ml oil (any non-fragrant oil)
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
100ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
20g (2 tbsp) poppyseeds
200g (1 and 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 F).
Butter and flour a loaf pan (20 x 10 x 6cm) and keep aside.
In a bowl, place butter, oil and sugar and beat until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and 2 eggs – mix in. Next, mix in the buttermilk and poppyseeds (mixture might look curdled but don’t worry!). Sift in the flour, baking powder and sea salt. Incorporate well but don’t overmix. Place batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Take out and let cool before slicing. Enjoy!


  1. Wow that looks so moist! I am going to start looking up other recipes using buttermilk....right after I make and eat this!

  2. I can almost imagine how soft and delicious this is...it looks good enough to sleep on!

  3. That looks like a great snack. Lemons, poppyseeds and buttermilk - great combination.

  4. This looks incredible and so moist! Love all the flavors in this, yum! :)

  5. How delicious is this?! I recently discovered the joys of using buttermilk in baking! I love it!

  6. I find the taste of butter milk in US very different from what we find in India. I too am a huge fan of this drink and the cake looks lovely moist.

  7. Your photographs are so inspiring. Simple, elegant and perfect. You ought to add a twitter button so that it can shared.

  8. I am slowly learning how buttermilk can really help with baking. It wasn't something I had any experience with growing up. Your pictures are gorgeous as always!

  9. I found your site through one of the tweets and I'm so loving it. Especially the pictures--simply amazing. Love your style! I haven't even checked the recipe. Yet.

  10. And I've followed your fans club, already :))

  11. Thanks friends for the super sweet comments!

    Yes, Kankana, buttermilk in the US sure does taste different to the kind used in India. One seems much more thicker than the other...

    I will try to add a twitter/pin it button to my posts to share more - I have to keep up with all this technology!

  12. I love lemon and poppy seed cake so I will definitely try this one after your recommendation.

    I usually make my lemon and poppy seed cake with yoghurt, I am curious to see the difference :)

    You have the most gorgeous images :)