Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HCB - Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

This week's recipe for the Heavenly Cake Bakers was the Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cake. Perfect timing! I recently got some vanilla beans from Kitchen Window and was contemplating what to put them (so many choices!!). Even though I stored the vanilla beans inside the cupboard, as soon as you entered the kitchen, you could smell their aroma. Just wonderful! Who came up with the term "plain vanilla" anyway? There's nothing plain about vanilla beans!!!

A slice each of the Vanilla Bean Pound Cake for hubby and I :o)

The cake batter requires sugar to be mixed with the seeds from the vanilla bean. I didn't want to dirty my big food processor and so I turned to my spice grinder. Snif snif... it still smells from my homemade Garam Massala. Now what? I sacrificed some sugar by grinding it in there and throwing it away. Snif snif... much better! In goes part of the sugar needed for the cake and the vanilla seeds. A few pulses and done!

Ta-da - homemade vanilla sugar ;o)

I took 2 sticks of butter out of the fridge and used half a stick to make biscotti for a different baking group. As I was ready to add the butter to the dry ingredients, I took a closer look at the recipe and saw that I needed 13 Tbsp, not 12. Oh boy! So I added 1 Tbsp of canola oil instead. I know, it's not the same but I figured it's such a small amount, it wouldn't hurt anything.

The batter is ready to be poured into the loaf pans and ramekins

I weighed the batter for the loaf pans and then eyeballed the amount for the small ramekins I used.

Ready for the trip to the oven!

While the cakes were baking, I made the syrup. I don't use alcohol so I substituted water for the vanilla cognac. I considered orange juice but feared it would take away from the vanilla aroma. Then I thought of vanilla extract but that might discolor the cake, so water it was. I was lazy and brushed the syrup on top of the cakes only. The cake seemed to absorb all of it pretty well.

I didn't have a pretty slit in the middle but it's ok. Will try harder next time :o)

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby and I liked the pound cake a lot. Its delicate vanilla aroma and buttery flavor is what made this pound cake shine. We found it to be a touch on the dry side, but I might have overbaked it ever so slightly. My husband gave this a 9 out of 10. That is pretty good, considering he's not into sweets that are overly buttery.
  • A couple of my coworkers got to try this cake too. They were all surprised how vanilla-ey it was.


  1. So clever to pulse the vanilla beans with sugar in the processor instead of having to rub in!! I never thought of that!

    I also like your idea of putting the cupcake paper in the ramekins! You are so full of cool ideas!! Next time i'll copy!

    Looks so yummy!!

  2. The vanilla cakes look delicious and I love the white plate. We just made a delicious vanilla pound cake for TWD recently; I'm going to have to look at RHC and see how similar they are.

  3. It looks so smooth and perfect...even your strawberries are cut beautiful! Dear me.

  4. It looks beautiful! The only way to improve on pound cake is to put real vanilla beans in there. I love that plate!

  5. I love the ramekins! Can only imagine making loads in ramekins then slicing with strawberries.

  6. great idea to use the spice grinder! you are right, there's nothing plain about vanilla beans--they're amazing!

  7. o.k I have to agree with all the ramekin comments! I love that idea...I'll do that next time too. you can try the cake, it's a perfect portion and you can just serve to others or give it away:)

    I love you heart cake plate too, so cute!

  8. Wow, nice pound the idea of the little ramekins...they sure look so yummie!

  9. I LOVE your serving dish! Just gorgeous.

    Vanilla is such a wonderful flavor and so many people do think vanilla is ordinary. I think the idea is shocking! Especially when a person finds out how hard it is to harvest vanilla beans and just how precious those bean pods are. The aroma amazes me every time. Gale Gand has a wonderful baking book split into two sections: One just for vanilla recipes and one just for chocolate. Love that cookbook. Beautiful poundcake Hanaa! =)

  10. Everything you prepare is always wonderful Hanaa. This vanilla bean pound cake is not exception!

  11. Thank you for your wonderful comments on my lamb sliders =). I think my next adventure is going to be baking pizzas on the outside grill. I have heard nothing but successful stories. Hopefully today! =)

    Hope all is well Hanaa and heckle you soon, Shandy

  12. Your blog is very dangerous for me! Everything, and I mean everything, I read here I want to make! I LOVE vanilla and while I don't have a spice grinder, I could use the blender...

    Sometimes I use apple juice when subbing for alcohol, but I agree, water was the way to go or else you would have masked the delicate, floral tones of the vanilla.

    Thanks for drawing my attention to more wonderful recipes from this book! I do need to bake something from it soon.

  13. Salam Aleykom Hanna :)
    How are you ? Masha Allah it's so fantastic and very wonderful ! i really love it. Thank you !

    See you.
    Saha ftorék insha Allah :)


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