As anyone who has been reading my blog will know, I am an avid devotee of pound cake. I just adore the stuff. I generally have one stashed in my freezer at all times for late night snacking and Sunday night sweet cravings. While I am generally not a fan of these mini individual cakelette things, these little beauties are terrific. I just don’t think it gets any better than great vanilla and buttery pound cake.
Lets move on to yet another of my favorite subjects. That of specialty pans. Oh no, your all thinking, here it comes again. He is going to go off on one of his harangues about the specialty pans. Well, yes I am, sort of. Pictured below is the reason for my complete hatred of the specialty pan. On a trip to Paris in 2000, we went to Dehillerin (I never go to Paris without going there) so I could get a couple Silpats and a porcelain pate terrine. Well, if you have ever been downstairs at Dehillerin you will know what a playground it can be. I was running around rampant down there going hog wild when I spotted these adorable little loaf pans. I just thought they were so cute that I couldn’t leave the store without picking up a couple of them. Well, here it is 11 years later and I can honestly tell you all that today is the very first time I will have ever used these little beauties. So, 11 years ago I had to have them because they were so cute and in that 11 years I have never, ever done anything with them except move them out of the way to get out the useful pans in my cupboard. And that dear readers, is why I hate specialty pans. You either use them once or not at all. Okay, on to making the cakes.
These are total simplicity. Only a few ingredients (which should be the absolute best you can find) and a few minutes of preparation and then into the oven. First, spit the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar and mix thoroughly. Process the sugar until the seeds are incorporated throughout the sugar. In a small bowl whisk the eggs, vanilla and milk until combined and set aside.
In the work bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour, sugar mixture, baking powder and salt until combined.
Then add the butter and half of the egg mixture and blend until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Then, in two additions, add the remaining egg mixture, beating for about 20 seconds between each addition. Because of the high butter content, the batter will be lumpy and appear curdled but don’t fear, all will turn out perfectly.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
To make the soaking syrup combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, cover and cool completely. Add Cognac and stir. I soaked my vanilla pods in the cognac while the syrup was cooling. As soon as the cakes are done, poke holes all over the top with a skewer and brush with half of the syrup. Unmold the cakes and repeat the process on the bottom.
Allow the cakes to cool. Voila, perfectly delicious vanilla bean pound cakes. This is the stuff sweet dreams are made of. Enjoy!
Next Up: Chocolate Banana Stud Cake