Buckwheat cake

More and more people are paying attention to healthy eating. However we tend to spend a fortune on expensive superfoods instead of discovering cheap, healthy and versatile ingredients. Buckwheat (hajdina in Hungarian) may be one of the healthiest foods that you are not eating, but it should be a part of your diet.

Buckwheat is sometimes called an ancient grain as it has been widely grown for more than 6000 years. It was domesticated and first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and from there spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then to the Middle East and Europe. In Hungary it was a common crop until fertilizers were introduced in the 20th century, which increased the production of corn and wheat.

Buckwheat groats
Buckwheat groats – photo: Wikipedia

Buckwheat is not a grain

Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, it belongs to a group of foods commonly called pseudocereals. This is the category name for seeds from non-grass plants commonly consumed in the same way as grains. Amaranth and quinoa are also pseudocereals.

Buckwheat is gluten-free

Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. It can be used in place of wheat grains such as bulgur, wheat berries, spelt, and freekeh, using the same cooking method.

Why is it healthy?

Buckwheat is one of the most important alternative crops and a valuable raw material for functional foods production since its nutritional value is considerably higher than that of many other grains. It is rich in many minerals, including manganese, magnesium and copper. It is also a good source of the B vitamins: B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, thiamin and choline.

Buckwheat also contains a decent amount of fiber, which your body cannot digest. This nutrient is good for colon health. It’s a good source of high-quality protein because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that humans do not produce naturally and must consume through food.

Taste first

Before you run to the store to stockpile it, let me warn you that buckwheat has a special, characteristic, nutty flavour, which is not liked by everyone. I recommend tasting it first in order to decide whether you can come to terms with this odd pseudocereal.

Buckwheat cake
Buckwheat cake – photo: zserbo.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 450 g (~1 lb) kefir or soured milk
  • 150 g (~5 1/3 oz) sour cream
  • 500 g (~1 lb + 1 2/3 oz) pitted sour cherries or other fruits
  • 1 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 3-4 tbsp milk

Grease and flour a 20×35 cm / 7×13″ baking pan. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 392°F.

Combine 2 cups of buckwheat flour, salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar and baking soda in a bowl. Add kefir and sour cream and mix until the batter becomes smooth. Pour it in the prepared baking pan and set aside.

Dust the sour cherries with a tablespoon of buckwheat flour. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon, and give it a good stir. Arrange the fruits on top of the batter. Mix together 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 3-4 tablespoons of milk, and spoon it on top.

Place the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool before serving.

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