Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cake

The smell of vanilla is one of my favorites.  Real vanilla. Vanilla tea on a Saturday afternoon. Vanilla lotion after getting out of the shower.  Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.  Vanilla bean creme brulee. Some people don't like vanilla and I am very aware of that.  They think it's too plain, or they like to eat it but not use it as lotion. They like the idea of vanilla, but they don't really love the reality of it.  And this, my friends is the very reason I find vanilla to be perfect.  I have people I know that don't really like me.  Or they like me for some things, and not others. I am too plain, around too often, too versatile, or just too vanilla.  And that's ok with me.   Because not everything can be fancy. Not everything can be liked by everyone.  Not me, not you, not vanilla.

But let's be clear. People that love vanilla are tried and true. And bakers. Bakers and cooks love vanilla. They appreciate the black specks of the vanilla bean that declares its authenticity.  They realize and take note of vanilla's versatility.  They see vanilla's potential to mix and mingle with a variety of flavors, yet they understand and accept it's raw, pure beauty. And it's these people that do the same things in us.  They love us. Accept us. And help us by adding this and that, yet they let us just be ourselves.  Vanilla, you and me are so much alike.  Let's always be together.

Vanilla Bean Cake
{sometimes I like to google recipes and then just choose one and see how it turns out. I did just this for this vanilla bean cake, and here is the source that this version is adapted from.}

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean split, seeds scraped
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk

Place flour, baking power and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix together butter and sugar until well combined.  Add vanilla bean seeds that have been scraped and mix well.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Add dry ingredients in small doses until all mixed together, but only barely mixed.  Do not over-mix. Butter and flour bunt pan (or round pans, but  ins't vanilla bean perfect for a bunt pan?). Pour into bunt pan and drop filled pan lightly on counter top to level cake batter.  Place oven rack on the middle shelf, and place cake into preheated 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes until fork inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.  Let cool completely in the pan and then transfer to cooling rack.  It must be cool before frosting.

Buttercream (kind of) Frosting
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 bag of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk (if that)
Melt butter and pour into mixing bowl with powdered sugar.  Mix on medium high speed, slowly adding milk until desired texture is reached.  If you want a full-frosted cake, then only add a small amount of milk.  If you want a drizzled cake, then add more milk, etc. And done.


  1. I LOVE Vanilla and I LOVE you. If you are boring and vanilla, then I am lukewarm water. Friday night ALL I wanted was some vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. So I had some. Vanilla is the perfect flavor.

  2. I agree. Vanilla is simply the best.

    Vanilla > Chocolate

  3. I just loved this. I don't know why, but it really hit me. So simple and, well, lovable. Just like you. Just like vanilla. Lots of love going around here. I think I just miss you... let's get together and eat something with vanilla :)