Today, as part of our month of desserts, we’re featuring a sweet cake from Posie Harwood of 600 Acres and Food52. With double the vanilla and a crunchy sugared crust, this cake will satisfy every sweet tooth. Here’s how to bake it up…
Double Vanilla Butter Cake
By Posie Harwood of 600 Acres
Say you’ve got a birthday coming up, you’re hosting a dinner party or bringing dessert for a baby shower. The last thing you want is a cake that falls flat or tastes like baking soda. That’s where this cake comes in. I loved it so much, that I wrote about it for my weekly Food52 column and I’ve made it over and over again since then.
Two kinds of vanilla (extract and paste) give it a rich, distinctive flavor. It’s delicate and sweet, with a moist and tender crumb. My favorite part is the golden, slightly crunchy sugared crust that develops around the edges. The trick? Instead of buttering and flouring the pan, you butter and sugar it. If you don’t want to make the chantilly cream (which is a fancy way of saying sweetened vanilla whipped cream), you can use plain whipped cream. This cake freezes beautifully, and would be great with ice cream, fresh fruit or a dollop of lemon curd.
1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting the pan
3 eggs, warmed slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (you can substitute an equal amount of vanilla extract)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
14 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment, grease the sides and base and dust it with granulated sugar. Set aside.
If your eggs are cold, place them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Having your eggs warmed will help with the next step of beating lots of air into them.
In a stand mixer or large bowl with hand-held electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar for 4 to 5 minutes. The mixture should be pale and almost doubled in size. When you lift up your beater, the mixture should fall in thick ribbons.
Add the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract and salt. Mix gently.
Sift the flour over the egg mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour into the batter until no streaks remain. You want to be careful not to deflate all that air you just spent time beating into the eggs and sugar.
Add the melted butter to the batter and fold gently but thoroughly using a spatula until the batter is well-mixed.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake should start to pull away from the sides. It will puff up considerably in the oven, but will deflate a bit once you take it out, which is fine.
Run a knife around the edges of the pan and let the cake cool for 5 minutes. Turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Thank you so much, Posie!