Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretty, Simple Vanilla Bundt Cake

This has been a tough week, for so many reasons and today, I just wanted to get back to simple.  Like when hearing our grandson burst into giggles as "Pop Pop" stands behind me, when we're skyping, and putting his head next to mine announces, "Mimi has two heads!"  Or when we saw this video of Maddie taking a hula lesson in Maui for the first time.  I thought about the stories my mother told me, when her father was stationed at Pearl Harbor in the Marine Corp, of her own experiences.  Simple, but meaningful pleasures.

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

Stir all ingredients together and pour over the cake while warm.  

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!


  1. That looks amazing! My mouth is watering just looking at it. :)

  2. When I was young I wanted chocolate this and strawberry that, or perhaps zingy lime or lemon; vanilla was a big 'nothing'. Now that I have ...matured...I find my craving is for vanilla. It is a wonderful, comforting flavour and definitely one to enjoy and delight in. Bring on the Vanilla Bundt Cake, it ticks all my boxes! This will be baked and enjoyed in Lincolnshire. Thank you.x

  3. Breakfast! This looks so moist and so comforting...Thank you for sharing your love of baking and for introducing me to Tahitian vanilla beans. :) I'm excited to start my batch today! I'm trying to embrace "simple" myself. I just may try my hand at this cake while in Ohio this week...A week without baking just doesn't seem like a real week. Lv, me

    1. I know, I just had one of those and realized yesterday that baking really does put me in a better place. Safe travels my friend, XOXO

  4. Susan this cake looks mouth watering yummy! I need to try making the Tahitian extract--Looks simple. Thank you for sharing. I haven't been able to do any baking this week and that's just not right! LOL
    Martha Ellen

    1. Martha Ellen, Me too! The planets must be out of alignment:-D

  5. Hello Susan...Simple you say, but oh so yummy looking. I know it is time to make my breakfast of oatmeal, but I wish I could top it off with a slice of your cake!

    1. I wish we were close enough so I could drop off a slice or two, Meggie!

  6. Looks delicious! I really want to make my own vanilla! Isn't it nice to be able to skype and watch movies of far away grandchildren:)

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