I am in search of the perfect pound cake recipe. The consummate pound cake recipe, the one that has the right amount of flavour, a firm but moist texture and tender crumb.
I also have a slight obsession with using vanilla beans in desserts and pastries. They just impart a much truer, more fragrant vanilla flavour.
I found this pound cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen. The recipe intrigued me because it uses a vanilla bean ground with the sugar to make a vanilla sugar that is then combined with the rest of the ingredients. This is a “true” pound cake in that it uses no baking powder or leavening agent just a pound each of butter, flour sugar and eggs.
I made the recipe as stated and baked this in a bundt pan. I served it with a strawberry rhubarb sauce, whipped cream and lots of fresh berries. It was a nice basic pound cake flecked with little bits of vanilla seeds.
My family really liked the cake, and remembered it with fondness after it was gone however my mom has since made a sour cream pound cake that has usurped this one in their affections…hmmm we seem to have a competition….
However, competitiveness aside, this is a good cake and definitely worth a try if only for the wafting scent of vanilla that will fill your apartment. It’s really the best kind of aromatherapy.
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Time: about 2 hours including baking time.
Makes one 10 inch bundt cake
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, used is fine
- 2 cups butter
- 9 large eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor, grind vanilla bean and sugar until vanilla is as finely chopped as it can get, about one minute. Sift this mixture twice, making sure al larger pieces have been filtered out. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, then gradually add the vanilla sugar, continuing to beat until well creamed and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the eggs are added, the batter will look slightly curdled, but adding flour will bring it all together. Gradually add the flour and salt, beating constantly. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until well blended.
- Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. Pour in the batter and “spank” the bottom of the pan to distribute the better evenly. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes, taking care not to overcook. There may be some melted butter on top of the cake even if the cake is fully cooked. Turn cake onto a rack and let cool.
Adapted from Martha Pearl Villas, New York times 3/16/04 and Smittenkitchen.com