Perhaps it's the European in me, or particularly the Maltese portion, that craves and enjoys denser cakes. What a change from the sky-high fluffy layer cakes I so enjoy creating, but wow, so quick, easy, and tasty. I bought a great Bundt pan (it was hard to choose a style, since they are seemingly endless!) from Nordic Ware a few months ago, and have a list of about 25 variations I'm eager to try. Last night I made this classic Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake & Vanilla Bean Glaze, and it turned out so incredibly yummy. The girls sat up on the counter and helped me glaze it--we may have gone a little overboard, but can you really ever have too much Vanilla Bean Glaze?
Here's a photo that brings me a slightly curious amount of joy, but you can see why! I wish these were mine, but, alas, I only own one Bundt pan so far. I have a feeling I will start to collect them the way I have cake pedestals, because they too are so pretty, unique, and, of course, functional. I love that some are authentically retro, and others simply look that way.
As you can see in the photo, they're practically art. I discovered and favourited this gorgeous Bundt cake pan extravaganza on Flickr many months back, and I'm so glad I did, because it lead me to its owner: Abbey, the ever-creative and self-described "art-obsessed" blogger from aesthetic outburst. Isn't it funny how the Internet can take you down the most unexpected of roads sometimes, which is when you discover some of the best gems? Love that.
Isn't that just vanilla happiness on a plate? As, I mentioned, my little cakelets and I may have gone a little gangbusters with the glazing, but, hey, we all needed a turn, and it was so much fun .
The recipe itself is very straightforward, and with the luxe addition of 2 whole vanilla beans into the cake and another into the glaze, I found this to be a really simple, flavourful and, dare I say, special Bundt cake, compared to some of the more basic recipes. (I imagine that if you didn't want to include 2 whole vanilla beans into the cake itself, you could get away with one and a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.) As with any pound or Bundt cake, the cake's texture, or crumb, is dense but moist--divine, if you ask me. I just loved this cake, and had several pieces this afternoon.
Love those vanilla bean flecks!
I find that the flavours in a cake like this tend to improve after a day or so, as long as kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It's a perfectly delightful breakfast, tea-time snack, or occasion cake. Place it on a plate for a pretty look, or high upon a pedestal to celebrate its loveliness.For those with an interest in history, I read an interesting article from The Nibble, explaining the history of the Bundt pan, as well as more about the authentic European inspiration, the Austrian Kugelhopf. A quick and interesting read: Bundt History.
Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze
For the Cake:
- 3 cups 375 g all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon 4 g baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon 2 g baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon 4 g salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks(255 g) unsalted butter, softened)
- 1-3/4 cups 350 g granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans (halved lengthwise or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vanilla bean paste)
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1/4 teaspoon 1.25 ml pure lemon extract
- 1 cup 240 ml buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Glaze:
- 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped or 1 tablespoon 915 ml) vanilla bean paste)
- 2-3 tablespoons 30-45 ml whole milk
- about 1 cup confectioners' sugar
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
- Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat together butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla beans with tip of a paring knife and add into butter mixture, reserving pods for another use, and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon extract until well combined. At low speed add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Spoon batter into pan, smoothing and spreading evenly. Gently tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until the tip of a knife or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour more.
For the Glaze:
- Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into whole milk. Let sit in a spouted container, such as a large pyrex measuring cup, for about an hour. Add confectioners' sugar gradually, whisking, until you get desired consistency--about 1 cup.
- You want to make sure that it's not too runny, or it won't dry white on the cake, and will run off too quickly. It should take a few seconds to whisk it, and it will feel too thick at first--keep whisking until you get desired thickness. If too thick, add a teaspoon or so of the vanilla milk.
- Once the cake has cooled, drizzle glaze over top.
- For ease, try Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste - 4 oz.
- You can buy Vanilla Beans online, or find them at gourmet grocers.