Buttery Double Vanilla Cake

Hello and happy Tuesday my friends, today we’re slowing things down with a simple tea cake. But when I say simple, I am referring only to the level of skill required to make this cake, and not at all to the depth of its flavor. I love recipes with a catch, and this recipe’s catch is that it’s got not one, but TWO types of vanilla in it. Classic vanilla extract is necessary, but the secret is an additional teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, which adds an extra punch of vanilla as well as flecks of vanilla bean so you KNOW what you’re getting before you even eat it. I used the very last of both my fancy vanilla extract AND my fancy vanilla bean paste, but I can’t imagine a better way for them to go. Taken from this recipe here by Posie Harwood, this cake is the perfect complement to a cup of tea- it’s buttery and dense and rich, and because the cake pan is lined with sugar instead of flour, it’s got a delicate, caramelized crunch on the outside.

To match the simplicity of this recipe, I will keep it short and sweet here as well, because we all know why you’re here and it’s to BAKE not to read! Thank you love you for reading, here we go!

But of course, before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
ONE. Hot drinks in clear glass mugs.
TWO. Teaching yourself calligraphy by practicing the alphabet over and over.
THREE. Mini succulents in individual pots.
FOUR. The idea that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes not planning is the best way to be.
FIVE. Mint green kitchen appliances.

Let’s bake!!

MAKES: 1 8-inch round cake
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
BAKE TIME: 35-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
3 eggs, warmed
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 cup flour
14 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly

STEPS

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch cake pan with a parchment circle, then grease the sides and bottom of the pan with butter. Coat the buttered pan with white sugar and shake around until it’s evenly coated.

TWO. If your eggs are at anything other than room temperature, warm them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, this will help when you’re whipping air into them later. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the warmed eggs and cup of granulated sugar for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are doubled in size, pale yellow, and fall in thick ribbons when the mixer is turned off.

THREE. Add the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and salt. If you don’t have any vanilla bean paste, just add an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract to make it three total. Sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula. It’s important to fold gently in order to maintain the air beaten into the eggs and not deflate them!

FOUR. Drizzle the melted butter into the batter and mix, again gently, but until it’s totally incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake will puff in the oven and then sink a little when it’s removed, but that’s normal!

FIVE. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges, then allow it to cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and continue to cool completely.

This cake is best enjoyed slightly warm with a cup of tea!! xoxoxoxoxoD

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Creme Brûlée with Rhubarb Coulis

Hello! Let me start of this post by wishing all the moms a very happy belated Mother’s Day, I hope your days were full of flowers and good food! It was a gloomy day here, I’m talking chilly and on/off rainy all afternoon, so it was a perfect day to stay in and take on some big cooking endeavors. My mom does so much for me and my family that the least I could do was make a fancy dinner, right? That’s how I best express my love, in slow-cooked french stew and desserts. Our menu was Beef Bourguignon, a recipe that can be found here, and these gorgeous creme brûlées. For those of you know have been keeping tabs (I know everyone is SO interested), I finally got some butane for my kitchen torch and this was the first recipe on my list.


Now I have ALSO been awaiting the arrival of rhubarb at the local farm for ages, and yesterday morning I showed up prepared to fight off anyone who tried to take more than me. As luck would have it, there was a table FULL of it and I confidently grabbed two large bunches, some for this recipe, and some for a pie later this week- I am on rhubarb lockdown here you guys!! So anyway, when brainstorming how to somehow use rhubarb and also make creme brûlée, I came across a recipe that used raspberry coulis on the bottom and custard on top, and I knew immediately that this was it. Substitute the raspberry for rhubarb, and the tartness is a perfect compliment to the richly sweet custard.

In all seriousness, I was crazy proud of how these came out, and they’re surprisingly easy to do. It’s mostly assembling the parts, and the hardest part will be using the kitchen torch. I found that some came out better than others, but it’s a learning process and you’ll soon be able to tell what amounts of sugar feel right and the height of the flames, etc. But I believe in you and this is going to go great! Let’s get to it!

*Recipe adapted from this recipe from Food Network*

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes- 1 hour
Total Time: ~1 hour 30 minutes

Rhubarb Coulis Ingredients

Approximately 4 cups (about 6 stalks) rhubarb, chopped
½ cup water
2/3 cup sugar

 

Rhubarb Coulis Steps

1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add in the rhubarb and turn the heat down to medium-high.

2. Cook until the rhubarb softens and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer to a glass bowl and allow to cool completely. While this is cooling, let’s make the custard!

 
Vanilla Bean Custard Ingredients

4 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbs vanilla bean paste (or 2 vanilla beans, scraped + the pods, or 1 tbs vanilla extract)
16 egg yolks (I know, I’m sorry- make sure to save the egg whites for THESE!)
1 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla Bean Custard Steps

1. In a large saucepan, add the cream, half and half, salt, and vanilla (plus the pods if you’re using whole vanilla beans). Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, then remove and cover while you prepare the eggs.

2. In a large glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow in color.

3. Slowly drizzle the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking the whole time to make sure the eggs don’t cook! Strain the mixture through a sieve into another glass bowl.

 

Creme Brûlée Assembly

1.  Begin by preheating your oven to 300ºF, and make sure you position the rack in the center position. Place your ramekins in a large tray or roasting pan with sides.

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2. Start by filling each ramekin with 2 tablespoons of the rhubarb coulis (or enough to evenly cover the bottom). Carefully ladle the custard on top, filling almost to the top.

3. Next, create a bain-marie by filling the roasting pan around the ramekins with boiling water, but be careful not to get the custards wet! The water should reach about two-thirds of the way up on each.

4. Bake the custards for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly. When finished, remove from the roasting pan and allow to cool completely, at least 3 hours.

5. When the time comes to brûlée them, evenly coat the top of each custard with a scant tablespoon of white sugar- you don’t want too much sugar on top because it will burn more easily, but you do want enough to make that classic crunchy top.

6. Using a kitchen torch, brûlée the sugared top of each custard until it turns an even golden brown. Allow to cool for a minute so that the sugar can harden completely before eating. When the time comes, prepare your spoons and crack those perfect shells.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxD