Vanilla is the #1 flavor in ice cream and the second most expensive flavoring, after saffron, mainly because growing it is so labor intensive. It is derived from the Vanilla orchid and is the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina, meaning sheath or pod. There are three major cultivars of vanilla: Mexico, Madagascar, and Tahiti. I was introduced to Tahitian vanilla two and a half years ago and I have never wanted to use anything else in my baking or jam making and it's my hubby's favorite flavor in his morning latte!
Pretty, Simple Vanilla Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 Vanilla beans, split and scraped
1 T. Kentucky bourbon (optional, but really brings out the flavor)
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with a baking spray or brush with melted butter and dust with flour.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla beans and the bourbon (if using) and beat well.
|Thought you'd like to see the progress of my homemade Vanilla extract--still several months away from using, possibly for my Fall baking!|
Measure all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add to the batter, alternatively with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat 1 minute more to thoroughly combine. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out cleanly when tested. Let cake cool about ten minutes in the pan before inverting onto a serving plate.
The cake is so moist, it's perfect served plain or with your favorite fruit (i.e., strawberries, peaches, etc) I added a vanilla bean glaze, but you could just dust it with confectioners' sugar.
Vanilla Bean Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. light Karo syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2-3 T hot water
I know this sounds totally cliche, but take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer... and if it includes cake, even better. Enjoy!