I haven’t felt this sick since my second daughter was born. And I think it might be the cure that is killing me—the doctor put me on some meds that have me dizzy, light headed, faint, nauseous and generally very unhappy. (Edited later to add that after going med free for a bit I am convinced it is meds and ALSO the worst sinus infection EVER). (Edited to add again that if you are checking in to see my Daring Bakers cake, well, the preceding paragraph should tell you all you need to know. 🙁 )
You probably wonder why I am baking then.
Well honestly I am craving starch all day long. And sweet starch is even better. And baking isn’t nearly so daunting as cooking since as long as I follow the instructions it should all come out ok. Granted it took me about twice as long as usual, but I did it and it came out really, really yummy. I served it with some of the first decent (not amazing mind you, still too early for that) strawberries of the season, and the girls were in heaven.
I found this recipe in Carole Walter’s recently released Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More. I LOVE this book—these kinds of cakes and sweet snacks are right up my alley. The only major change I made to the recipe was in reference to the vanilla. Carole Walter has you toast one vanilla bean and process it with sugar. Instead, because I keep vanilla sugar around anyway, I used that sugar PLUS the beans from 2 pods. The pods then went into my sugar and the extract I have brewing. I used Bourbon beans. I apologize for the backdrop of the pictures—everything has kind of gone to hell in a handbasket while I’ve been sick…
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Adapted from Carole Walter’s Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out
1 2/3 cups vanilla sugar
2 1/3 cups sifted cake flour, spooned and leveled
½ t baking powder
½ t salt
¼ t baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 t vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 9 inch bundt pan with Baker’s Joy (or some flour/grease equivalent).
Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Set Aside.
Cream the butter for 1 minute on medium. Add the cream cheese and cream an additional minute. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes and scraping down the bowl as needed (I did this on medium speed). Add 2 of the eggs, one at a time, and beat for one minute after each of the eggs.
Whisk the remaining 2 eggs with the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternating with the vanilla/milk mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do this on the lowest speed. Scrape down the bowl as needed, including at the end, after which mix for an additional 10 seconds.
Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes (mine took a little less time, so keep an eye on it). Rotate from front to back if your oven is uneven at all halfway through. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and a long wooden skewer inserted deep into the cake comes out clean (Ms. Walter really prefers wooden, as opposed to metal—I had no wooden skewer so I used a dried spaghetti noodle which seemed to work well).
Remove from the oven and place the cake on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Then invert the cake onto the cooling rack and let it cool completely. Store wrapped in plastic wrap inside of a cake keeper for up to 5 days. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.