Apple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Apple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
Pumpkin desserts tend to jump into the spotlight when fall rolls around, but apple desserts are fall favorites for me, too. Whether you’re talking about apple pies, breads or muffins, apple desserts are always crowd-pleasers. Like pumpkin in fall desserts, apples are often paired with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg – sometimes to …

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Apple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
Pumpkin desserts tend to jump into the spotlight when fall rolls around, but apple desserts are fall favorites for me, too. Whether you’re talking about apple pies, breads or muffins, apple desserts are always crowd-pleasers. Like pumpkin in fall desserts, apples are often paired with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg – sometimes to the point where the natural sweetness of the apple is dominated by the flavor of the spice. This Apple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake keeps apple in the spotlight by pairing fresh apple with vanilla bean – and while it may not be the most traditional apple cake flavor combination, it is an amazing one.

As the name Apple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake suggests, I used real vanilla bean in this recipe. The bean should be split and the seeds should be scraped out and added to the apple cake batter. The vanilla seeds will leave small specks throughout the cake once they are stirred in. The vanilla not only highlights the flavor of the apple, but it adds a subtle floral flavor that reminds me of apple blossoms, not just of apples. You can substitute in a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean if you don’t have one available, but the investment of the bean is well worth it because you’re not going to the get same floral vanilla quality without using a whole bean.

The batter itself is loaded with plenty of shredded apples which ensure that apple is distributed evenly in every bite. You do not need to peel the apples before shredding because any peel will be shredded into such small bits that they won’t be noticeable in the finished cake.

The cake has a tender, moist crumb and is very satisfying to eat. I finished mine off with a little bit of vanilla glaze to boost the flavor of the vanilla even more, but you could stick to a dusting of confectioners’ sugar if you want to keep things simple. If you like your cake with a little extra frosting, a thinned-down cream cheese frosting (just add a little extra milk until it is pourable) that is flavored with vanilla beans would also be a nice alternative. Regardless of what topping you choose, the cake will be delicious and it will keep very well for several days after baking.

Apple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups shredded apple (3 medium apples)
1/4 cup plain apple sauce
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and eggs until light. Stir in the vegetable oil. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of a knife to scrape out the seeds. Save the pot to make the vanilla glaze. Add the seeds to the batter and stir in shredded apples and apple sauce. Blend in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in all the remaining dry ingredients and mix until batter is uniform and no streaks of flour remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serves 12.

It isn’t worth using a second vanilla bean just for the glaze. Re-scrape the vanilla bean that you used in your cake to get the last seeds and add them in to the glaze. If you can’t get any seeds at all, simply trim a 1/2-inch piece off of a fresh vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out and add that to your glaze. Store the leftover bean in a glass container until you’re ready to use it in another project.

Vanilla Bean Glaze
1/2-1-inch piece vanilla bean
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife. In a medium bowl, beat together vanilla, butter, milk and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Gradually blend in the remaining confectioners’ sugar until the frosting becomes thick, smooth and pourable.
Drizzle onto cooled cake.

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Banana Upside Down Cake

In the winter, we often turn to the tropics to get our fruit fixes. Bananas are the most popular fruit in America, and they’re quite popular elsewhere, too. I’m happy with oranges, grapefruits, and chocolate (yup, cocoa beans are fruit – great news for fruit-lovers!) but sometimes it’s nice to throw something else in the mix, and I’ll grab a pineapple, some kiwifruits, a few…

Banana upside down cake recipe

In the winter, we often turn to the tropics to get our fruit fixes. Bananas are the most popular fruit in America, and they’re quite popular elsewhere, too. I’m happy with oranges, grapefruits, and chocolate (yup, cocoa beans are fruit – great news for fruit-lovers!) but sometimes it’s nice to throw something else in the mix, and I’ll grab a pineapple, some kiwifruits, a few avocados, or a bunch of bananas, when doing my food shopping.

Banana upside down cake recipe

While I was waiting for my yellow bananas to ripen, a few days later I came across these red bananas at the market. I love red bananas, which have a more pronounced flavor than yellow bananas, but are hard to come by in France, and elsewhere. (They should be dead-ripe when you use them. The skin will turn quite dark when they’re ready.) So jumped at the bunch when I saw it, and put those in my fruit bowl to see who would ripen first.

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Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin pie is a wonderful dessert, but it isn’t the only treat that you can make with pumpkin during the fall baking season. Pumpkin can be incorporated into a wide variety of muffins, breads and cakes. It can also work its way into fall versions of even more classic desserts, such as …

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Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin pie is a wonderful dessert, but it isn’t the only treat that you can make with pumpkin during the fall baking season. Pumpkin can be incorporated into a wide variety of muffins, breads and cakes. It can also work its way into fall versions of even more classic desserts, such as a creme brulee. My Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee puts a seasonal twist on a timeless classic, adding pumpkin puree and a bit of spice for a dessert that captures the fall flavors you love in an elegant way.

This creme brulee is flavored with vanilla bean and a little bit of nutmeg, but also contains pumpkin puree. Vanilla bean really gives a beautiful flavor to any milk or cream based dessert, and it uplifts the pumpkin puree, keeping the dessert feeling rich but light. Nutmeg enhances the vanilla bean without making the custard to spice-heavy. As much as I enjoy pumpkin pie spice, creme brulee isn’t a dessert that you want to turn into a spice-bomb.

Be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which may contain additional sweeteners in it. Pumpkin puree should be nothing more than pure pumpkin! Most commercially made pumpkin purees will be quite smooth, but the custard should be strained before baking just to ensure it doesn’t contain any lumps.

The custards can be prepared a day or so in advance and stored in the refrigerator, but they should be bruleed just before serving. For the brulee, a generous amount of sugar should be added to the top of the custard and spread (or shaken) until it is even. Then, the sugar can be caramelized with a kitchen torch until it is golden. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can pop the custards until a hot broiler for a minute to caramelize them.

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

And if you love the idea of a brulee, but you just can’t help yourself from sticking with a pumpkin pie for your next pumpkin dessert, let me point you in the direction of my Bruleed Pumpkin Pie, which features a caramelized topping exactly like the one you would find on a creme brulee. It’s an easy variation on a traditional pie and one that will make your dessert a little bit more memorable!

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 300F. Arrange six, shallow 6-oz ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Split vanilla bean and use the back of a knife or a spoon to scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod to heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
After vanilla has finished steeping, remove vanilla bean pod, then bring back to a simmer
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, egg yolks, pumpkin and nutmeg.
Slowly stream the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture, while whisking continuously to temper the eggs without cooking them. Strain pumpkin custard through a fine strainer into a large measuring cup to remove any lumps.
Divide the pumpkin mixture evenly between the prepared ramekins. Fill the baking dish containing ramekins with hot water, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the custards are set. (if using deeper ramekins, baking time will be slightly longer and yield will be one less). Allow them to cool in the water bath, then refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours). Custards can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Just before serving, top each custard 1-2 tsp of sugar, turning the ramekin to coat the surface of the custard.
Caramelize sugar with a kitchen torch or by putting ramekins under the broiler for about 1 minute, watching closely.

Serves 6

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Honey Vanilla Pots de Crème

The soft floral notes of honey mingle with sultry vanilla bean in this show-stopping baked custard that’s deceivingly easy to prepare. Honey and vanilla make for a perfect combination in these perfectly petite, and perfectly adorable, pots de crème. The silky smooth texture is achieved by gently baking in a bain-marie or water bath. Part […]

The post Honey Vanilla Pots de Crème first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

The soft floral notes of honey mingle with sultry vanilla bean in this show-stopping baked custard that’s deceivingly easy to prepare.

Honey and vanilla make for a perfect combination in these perfectly petite, and perfectly adorable, pots de crème. The silky smooth texture is achieved by gently baking in a bain-marie or water bath.

Honey pots de creme served in glass ramekins, topped with a triangle of honeycomb and fresh chamomile flowers

Part two of my edible flower obsession, this time featuring chamomile flowers. They are most commonly used as herbal tea, but the fresh flowers are a lovely edible garnish for any dish, sweet or savory.

I was unsuccessful growing my own chamomile flowers last summer, and this year my efforts to find a starter plant came up short. I filled my garden with other edibles, including dianthus and marigold, but had resigned myself to a chamomile-less existence.

Then I spotted fresh cut chamomile flowers at Trader Joe’s, and immediately stashed a bunch in my cart (to Taylor’s obvious confusion since I never buy fresh flowers… because, cats.)

I had been planning to revisit these lovely honey pots de creme for some time now, the recipe one we originally developed for a honey company years ago but never actually posted it here. I had a container of honey comb I’d been saving for just this reason as well, so it appeared the stars (and flowers) had finally aligned.

(more…)

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle with Homemade Vanilla Bean Pudding.

I’m calling this the summer of the strawberry shortcake trifle. If you’ve been following my week in the life posts, then you know that this is basically the YEAR of the trifle for me. Not only the summer. They are just so good. They taste like 1995 is the best way possible. So nostalgic and […]

The post Strawberry Shortcake Trifle with Homemade Vanilla Bean Pudding. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

I’m calling this the summer of the strawberry shortcake trifle.

strawberry shortcake trifle

If you’ve been following my week in the life posts, then you know that this is basically the YEAR of the trifle for me. Not only the summer. They are just so good. They taste like 1995 is the best way possible. So nostalgic and wonderful, which is exactly what we all want and need while quarantined. Right?!

Also. I’ve wanted to make a strawberry shortcake cake for months. I was waiting until strawberries came in season, and then my sister-in-law made the most amazing berry trifle over memorial day weekend. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So this is how I meshed the two!

fresh picked strawberries

See, I’ve had an obsession with strawberry shortcake anything since I was a kid. Like a little little kid. Probably five or six? I watched strawberry shortcake cartoons and then I had the dolls too. And all I can remember is that they SMELLED LIKE CAKE. Does anyone else remember this? It had to be in the very late 80s or early 90s. And when I think about my toys from childhood, strawberry shortcake anything is all I remember. 

I was crazy over it. 

So naturally, I want all the strawberry shortcake recipes. Because if I haven’t screamed it from the rooftops enough, strawberries are my favorite fruit and they are divine when in season.

fresh vanilla whipped cream

The best part of a trifle is that you can use all homemade ingredients or store bought in a pinch. 

The past few weeks, I’ve done it both ways. So here are my thoughts!

I highly suggest buying the pound cake. Store bought pound cake is pretty darn good and if it’s not, it will be blanketed with vanilla pudding and whipped cream. I’ve also made it the “city girl trifle” way, which is where you make a syrup with orange liqueur and and sugar and then brush it over the cake. Wowza it’s good. It’s a great way to save store bought cake too.

I’ve made both boxed pudding and homemade pudding. This version has homemade vanilla bean pudding and it’s incredible. Silky but thick, rich but light at the same time. Tastes like heaven!

layered strawberries and pound cake

I also always make my own whipped cream. And I tend to add vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste to it, but no sweetener or sugar. I love it this way because the hint of vanilla is so… pure. Not sugary sweet or fake. It also cuts the sweetness of the pudding and cake.

My favorite thing about this treat is that the strawberries are the sweetest part. YES. Perfectly juicy and sweet when in season – they almost taste like candy. Folded into the whipped cream and pudding with bits of the fluffy cake… OMG.

I don’t even know how to describe it!

It’s so summery. So fresh. So wonderful. 

strawberry shortcake trifle

Of course – you can do this with any type of berry! You can also do a fun mix of berries for a whole red, white and blue theme. You can throw this together in MINUTES if you use store bought ingredients. If you make your own whipped cream, you can still throw it together pretty quickly. And it’s looks so fancy. 

If you don’t have a trifle dish, use a large glass bowl. Or make individual trifle parfaits in glasses. It’s so easy.

layered pound cake and whipped cream

It’s such a crowd pleaser and everyone flips over it. Especially because it’s 2020 and we all forgot how much we love a good trifle. 

strawberry shortcake trifle

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Print

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

This strawberry shortcake trifle is made with buttery pound cake, homemade vanilla pudding and vanilla whipped cream! It is divine.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 1 (9x5 inch) pound cake, cut into cubes (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 cups vanilla bean pudding recipe below (or 1 (5oz) box of instant vanilla pudding)
  • 2 to 3 cups whipped cream recipe below
  • 3 cups sliced or quartered fresh strawberries
  • fresh strawberries for garnish optional

vanilla bean pudding

  • 2 cups cold whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons butter

vanilla whipped cream

  • 2 cups cold whipped cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

trifle

  • Layer a few pound cake cubes and strawberries on the bottom of the trifle dish. Top with a layer of vanilla bean pudding and then whipped cream. Repeat with the cake cubes and strawberries. I like to repeat the layers 3 or 4 times. Top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries if you wish!
  • This is ready to serve immediately after making, however, you can also make it ahead of time. If you make the homemade pudding and whipped cream and want to make it ahead, I suggest making the whole trifle the morning of and storing it in the fridge. If you choose to use a refrigerated whipped topping, you might be able to get away with making it the night before. Just be sure to store it in the fridge!
  • If you don’t have a trifle dish, you can easily use a large bowl to make this.

vanilla bean pudding

  • Fill a shaker cup with the milk and add the cornstarch. Seal the cup and shake for at least 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove it from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste or extract (or both!) and the butter until melted.
  • Let the pudding cool to room temperature. You can use it at room temp or store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

vanilla whipped cream

  • Place the heavy cream and vanilla paste (or extract) in a bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can also use an electric hand mixer if you wish. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Notes

pudding method from allrecipes

strawberry shortcake trifle

It’s the best feeling to serve a messy dessert.

The post Strawberry Shortcake Trifle with Homemade Vanilla Bean Pudding. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake

One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake

I always enjoy a good one-bowl dessert recipe. What is a one-bowl recipe? It’s a recipe that can be mixed up in just one bowl! I’ve made brownies and muffins, among other treats, but this One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake is a new favorite. This easy-to-make bundt …

The post One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake appeared first on Baking Bites.

One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake

I always enjoy a good one-bowl dessert recipe. What is a one-bowl recipe? It’s a recipe that can be mixed up in just one bowl! I’ve made brownies and muffins, among other treats, but this One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake is a new favorite. This easy-to-make bundt cake only takes a couple of minutes to put together and the moist, tender cake is a crowd-pleaser every time I bake it.

The cake starts with very simple ingredients, with vanilla being the star of the cake. Vanilla extract works very well in this recipe, however if you have vanilla bean paste, I recommend using that. With the vanilla bean paste, you’ll get to see those beautiful flecks of vanilla in each piece, in addition to getting a lovely vanilla flavor.

The key to making this cake a success is careful mixing of all the ingredients. You want the cake to remain tender, which means that you need to avoid over-mixing the cake. As a result, I like to put together this recipe by hand using a whisk or a spatula, rather than a mixer. While a mixer will save you a little bit of time, you may also run the risk of over-mixing the cake and making the crumb a little bit too firm.

Once everything is mixed together, simply pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake. I finished this cake with a drizzle of vanilla frosting. It is also good with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, but the drizzle dresses it up and adds a bit of additional sweetness to each piece. I must confess that you will need a second bowl to make the vanilla frosting for this cake – although you could simply wash and resuse the initial bowl if you want to really stick to the “one bowl” idea.

One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake

One Bowl Vanilla Bundt Cake
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract (pref. vanilla bean paste)
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk (pref. whole)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.
Add 1 cup of all purpose flour, along with baking powder and salt, into the sugar mixture and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 of the milk, followed by another cup of flour. Stir in the remaining milk, followed by the rest of the flour. Mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cooled, drizzle with vanilla frosting.

Makes 1 cake; serves 12

Vanilla Frosting
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
2-3 tbsp milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, vanilla and 2 tbsp of milk until smooth. If necessary, whisk in an additional tablespoon of milk to thin frosting to a drizzle-able consistency.
Drizzle on cooled cake.

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Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Honey Creme Brulee

Creme brulees never go out of style in my book – especially when you’re making them at home so that you can put a twist on this very classic dessert! This Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee recipe is a new favorite of mine. The silky smooth custard is sweetened with honey and …

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Honey Creme Brulee

Creme brulees never go out of style in my book – especially when you’re making them at home so that you can put a twist on this very classic dessert! This Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee recipe is a new favorite of mine. The silky smooth custard is sweetened with honey and vanilla bean, giving it a rich sweetness along with a wonderful floral vanilla flavor. The vanilla bean really pairs beautifully with the honey, making this dessert both delicious and decadent!

The custard is easy to make and uses heavy cream and whole milk as a base. The fat in the dairy is what makes this custard silky smooth and velvety, so this is one dessert where you don’t want to substitute lower fat dairy if you want to get the best possible results. The recipe starts by infusing the cream and milk mixture with vanilla bean. If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, you can use vanilla extract and stir it into the milk and egg mixture before dividing it into ramekins.

The custard is sweetened with both honey and sugar. Most of the flavor comes from the honey, and each honey has its own unique flavor, so be sure to choose a honey that you like. I like wildflower, orange and acacia for this recipe, but just give your honey a taste before you incorporate it into the custard to be on the safe side.

Honey Creme Brulee

Bake your custards in a water bath, allow them to cool and then chill them before bruleeing the tops. I find that the best way to serve these is when the caramel layer on top is still slightly warm and the custard is cold, an effect that I get by using a kitchen torch to brulee the custard just before serving. For a perfect crust, try to use superfine sugar to create a thick and even layer of sugar on the cold custard, then use the torch in small circles to caramelize it without burning. If you’re not serving all the custards at once, store the extras for up to 2 days in the fridge and brulee just before indulging.

Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
hot water, for water bath
sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 325F. Arrange six 6-oz ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Split vanilla bean and use the back of a knife or a spoon to scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod to heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod, then bring back to a simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Whisking constantly, very slowly stream the hot milk mixture in to temper the eggs. Strain mixture into a large measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout.
Divide mixture evenly into prepared ramekins. Place pan onto a rack in the oven, and pour boiling water into the pan around the ramekins so that water comes two thirds up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until custards are set and have only a slight jiggle to them. A very sharp knife inserted into the center of a custard should come out clean.
Carefully remove tray from oven and allow custards to cool in the water bath. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating, then cover with plastic wrap and chill completely before adding topping.
Custards can be prepared up to two days in advance.

For topping: Add about a tablespoon of sugar onto the top of each custard and spread into an even layer. Using a kitchen torch and moving it slowly, but constantly, caramelize the topping. Topping can also be caramelized under the broiler.
Allow caramel to set for a minute before serving.

Serves 6

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Riz au lait (French rice pudding)

Recently I was contacted by a film production company that was proposing to include me in a series. They were interested in what I do and mentioned they wanted to come over and film me in my office, along with all the people I work with. I hated to disappoint them, but I had to tell them that it’s just was me sitting in front…

Recently I was contacted by a film production company that was proposing to include me in a series. They were interested in what I do and mentioned they wanted to come over and film me in my office, along with all the people I work with. I hated to disappoint them, but I had to tell them that it’s just was me sitting in front of my computer, or hanging around my kitchen, wielding my camera while trying to balancing a spoon on the edge of a saucepan so it doesn’t fall in, or coaxing a quickly-melting scoop of ice cream into something that’ll look presentable when I publish the recipe for you.

Continue Reading Riz au lait (French rice pudding)...

Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream

Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream
Vanilla cakes are always one of my favorites. I love it when the creamy floral sweetness of vanilla comes through in any baked good, but when you pair a vanilla can with a vanilla frosting, you get a burst of vanilla flavor that is impossible not to enjoy. This Very Vanilla Layer Cake …

The post Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream appeared first on Baking Bites.

Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream
Vanilla cakes are always one of my favorites. I love it when the creamy floral sweetness of vanilla comes through in any baked good, but when you pair a vanilla can with a vanilla frosting, you get a burst of vanilla flavor that is impossible not to enjoy. This Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream is more than just “plain vanilla” and is a great cake for any occasion, from an everyday treat to a birthday celebration.

The cake batter itself is easy to make and has the unusual addition of hot milk. The milk does not need to be boiling (no need to risk scalding it), but it does need to be very hot when you add it to the batter. The hot milk produces a more tender cake that will really melt in your mouth when it is served. Despite its tenderness, the cake is still quite sturdy and is easy to stack in layers – even if you decide to use this recipe as a base for a much taller cake.

The cake gets its vanilla from vanilla extract and vanilla bean. Real vanilla bean gives you the best vanilla flavor and leaves you with beautiful vanilla flecks in the cake. If you don’t have a real vanilla bean available, you can use vanilla bean paste instead, which will give you a similar look. There is vanilla bean in the vanilla cream cheese frosting, as well, and you can feel free to substitute vanilla bean paste to get the look here, too. I used a 2-to-1 ratio of butter to cream cheese in the frosting, which gives it a nice flavor but makes it a little bit easier to work with than the usual 1-to-1 cream cheese frosting. This one is easy to spread and thick enough to pipe on, if you want to use it to dress the cake up a bit more.

To add more layers to your cake, these cakes could easily be cut in half and stacked with a bit more icing to create a four-layer cake. Since this cake recipe is one of my favorites, I didn’t want to upset the cake-to-frosting ratio in favor of the frosting here. That said, if you were to use a frosting that had a more unusual flavor – like coffee, toffee or dark chocolate – you might want to split those layers to make more space for additional frosting/filling. It all comes down to personal preference – and whether or not you want to spend a few extra minutes stacking your cake up!

No matter how you stack it, this cake will keep well for 2-3 days after baking when kept in an airtight container or well-sealed cake plate. If you would like to prepare the cake layers the night before assembling the cake, you can. Simply bake and cool the cake layers, then wrap them up with plastic wrap and unwrap when you are ready to frost and assemble.

Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream

Very Vanilla Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar together at medium-high speed until the mixture has at least tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife or a spoon. Add to sugar mixture and beat to incorporate. Whisk in flour mixture by hand or with the mixer at low speed.
In the meantime, combine butter and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to melt the butter. Remove from heat and add in vanilla extract. Allow to cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate the hot milk mixture into the cake batter until batter is uniform.
Divide evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for about 24-26 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for about 5 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream
16-oz (1 cup) butter, room temperature
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese and milk until smooth.
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife or a spoon. Add vanilla to butter mixture, along with vanilla extract and salt. Gradually blend in the sugar until frosting is thick and creamy, and the vanilla is well-distributed. Frosting should be thick enough to spread easily and hold its shape.

Makes 1 layer cake; Serves 10-12.

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