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[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

We never hesitate to buy buttermilk, knowing how indispensable it is to making our pancakes fluffy or giving our pound cake a subtle tang. Yet there is always the inevitable result: a half used carton of buttermilk that lingers in our fridge until, feeling a little ashamed, we finally throw it out.

Does a pint of buttermilk have to be a sunk cost? Not if you use the leftovers to make one of these 13 delicious sweets.

Buttermilk Cappuccino Cake: This cake is moist and tender, with a subtle tang from the buttermilk and just a hint of nutmeg. The layers are soaked in a coffee syrup then covered with an espresso-flavored Swiss buttercream.

Glazed Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts: Get over your fear of deep frying with this recipe from Karen DeMasco. Perfect, pillowy doughnuts guaranteed.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Moscato Apricots: This panna cotta, yellowed with threads of saffron and scented with orange flower water, is the perfect compliment to sweet, wine-infused apricots.

Memaw's Buttermilk Biscuits: These homely biscuits are straight out of Mississippi. The trick to fluffy layers is using cold ingredients and making sure not to twist the biscuit cutter.

Apple Buttermilk Muffins: These tender muffins have big chunks of apple and the warming spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.

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[Photograph: Elizabeth Barbone]

Buttermilk Pound Cake: Can't wait til spring? Try this cake. The delicate flavor and lemony icing hints of light spring desserts, while not requiring any unavailable seasonal ingredients.

Bill Yosses' Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt with Orange Glaze: This dinner party-worthy cake is studded with blackberries and glazed with a sweet-tart combination of freshly squeezed orange juice and confectioners' sugar.

Lemon Sunshine Cookies: These tender buttermilk cookies have a double hit of lemon: zest in the dough and lemon juice in the glaze.

Loretta's Buttermilk Pancakes: These pancakes are light, delicious, and have that crunchy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside qualities that great pancakes should have.

Pumpkin Black and White Cookies: The pumpkin puree in these cookies adds enough moisture to stave off the dryness that tends to plague traditional black-and-whites. The pumpkin works equally well with the vanilla and chocolate frostings.

Buttermilk Corn Muffins: These breakfast sweets take less than 30 minutes to get from mixing bowl to cooling rack. And while each treat is moist and corny on its own, the recipe is most valuable as a blank slate for adding your own favorite ingredients.

Gale Gand's Buttermilk Pancakes: Buttermilk gives these pancakes a delicious tang. Make them extra awesome by adding fresh or frozen berries.

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