I myself am recovering from a particularly tough two weeks so this will be a short post. I did not want to end the week, however, without even a "hi!". Also, I've promised you some vanilla beans. So here I am :)
When The Vanilla Company heard I was having this giveaway they decided to donate more beans to my little raffle. Thanks to them, we now have two winners instead of one! Each winner will receive 1 pack of Tahitian vanilla beans, 1 pack of Bourbon vanilla beans, 1 Gold Label Tahitian vanilla bean, and one The Vanilla Company shopping bag. More loot than I had originally planned...YAY for the winners!
So, without further dithering about, the lucky winners are...Laura of The Spiced Life and Midge of Sybaritic Diversions!!! Congratulations to you both!
And to get you even more excited...here's another way to use those vanilla beans :)
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
(From Aida Mollenkamp's recipe on Chow)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for coating the pan
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature if you are from colder climes, but over here just make sure it's softened just enough to have your blender handle it (room temp over here means melted). Plus extra for the pan (I like to use whatever is leftover on the paper the butter was wrapped in, and just rub the buttery paper all over the pan)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, split length-ways and scraped, seeds reserved (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla seeds and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, beating until incorporated before adding the next egg.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing each until just incorporated. Do not over-mix.
- Spread the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the cake and remove from the pan, letting it cool completely on the rack.
This unassuming loaf is the perfect way to try out vanilla beans if you are using them for the first time. It is easy, quick, doesn't require multiple steps (like this), and lets the vanilla beans shine. I, for one, am a lover of plain, unfussy, yellow cakes, especially of the loaf variety, and this cake's buttery vanilla crumb has definitely endeared itself to my heart.
Despite the harried and harrowing past couple of weeks, I am determinedly psyching myself for the week to come. And, in my humble opinion, nothing sets you right for Monday than cake and free vanilla beans on Sunday. Congratulations once again to the Laura and Midge!