Buckwheat Cake with Sea Salt

buckwheat cake

The recipe for this cake sounded very unusual: buckwheat flour, rum, salt?! I did have a bottle of dark rum just begging to be used up, and for some reason, I also had buckwheat flour in the pantry. So I figured, why not? And I’m so glad I did!

Everything in this cake is so perfectly balanced: lightly sweetened and a kick of salt, not too airy or too dense, no distracting frosting or toppings, a deep and interesting but not over-the-top flavor. It goes great with a cup of tea or an after-dinner drink like Frangelico. The salt provides a really nice contrast to the sweet cake. It highlights the flavor without being overwhelming.

My photos certainly don’t do it justice. It was really difficult taking a good photo of this cake. I even made it twice and tried to make the pictures look better on the second pass, but no luck. You’ll just have to take my word for it. This cake is divine. And all the family members who tried it loved it. Even my little cousin, who was confused about why it was salty, still gave it a thumbs up.


From David Lebovitz

Buckwheat Cake with Salt

serves 12-15

7/8 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup  all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon + 1/3 teaspoon fleur de sel (I used coarse sea salt instead)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks + 1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon milk

  1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift together the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then incorporate the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together 4 egg yolks, 1 egg, vanilla and rum. Then drizzle into butter/sugar while beating.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until batter is uniform. Do not overmix.
  6. Put batter into your greased pan and smooth the top as much as possible. Mix the remaining egg yolk with the milk and brush it on top with a pastry brush.
  7. Draw three parallel lines on the top of the cake with a fork. Then draw another three lines at an angle to make the pattern. Sprinkle the remaining salt over the top of the cake.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes — you don’t want it to get too dry — and make sure it’s completely cooled before removing it from the pan.
Slice of buckwheat cake

The cake is a great consistency - not too light and fluffy, and not too dense. We ate it plain, but it would be great with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or some fresh berries.

spreading buckwheat batter

The batter will be very thick when finished. I used an offset spatula to spread it in the pan. I think a rubber spatula would also work well.

Buckwheat batter

Once the batter is spread out as evenly as possible in the pan...

Buckwheat cake with egg wash

...Brush the cake with the beaten egg yolk and draw six lines (three in one direction and three in the other) to make a decorative pattern.

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