Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Laziest Baker: Double Vanilla Poundcake

Waaay back in June, Marie, the Breadbasketcase of the Lazy Bakers No Rules club, decided we ought to bake RLB's double vanilla poundcake. I was totally excited by the project.

And never got around to doing it. Maybe I was just seeing exactly how lazy and no-rulesy we could be. (Actually, I've just been busy baking other things it seems!)

Anyway, we just decided on our project for August, and so I figured I'd better start to catch up.

August 4, 2008
Name of cake: Double Vanilla Pound Cake
Occasion: Trying to catch up with the Not-So-Lazy Bakers!
Constituents: Pound Cake...with vanilla extract and a vanilla bean

Ahh, back to what I know how to do: cake. I like baking cake.

Thanks to the lovely young Melinda, I have vanilla beans that have been waiting for exactly this occasion. I pulled one out and mmmmm, the aroma was heavenly.

vanilla bean

It was a hot day and night, and I was reluctant to turn on the oven. So I took my time prepping the ingredients with many breaks to watch The Fellowship of the Ring with my roommate (the extra extra long version). When it came time to scrape the vanilla grains out of the pod, I discovered that my (impeccably clean) finger was the best tool for the job--got the most grains out the fastest.

The kitchen was so hot that I had to put the butter back in the refrigerator to keep it from melting at room temperature! The cake came together quickly and easily, and I couldn't help but show off to Joelf the thick, creamy batter dotted with vanilla grains.

double vanilla pound cake batter

I lazily lined the entire loaf pan with parchment (couldn't be bothered to cut out a little rectangle for just the bottom) and slid the cake into the oven. About an hour later, I poked the cake with a toothpick, which came out clean. I thought the cake could have been a touch more golden, but the toothpick was clean, so I pulled out the cake.

Ten minutes later (at 1 am) the cake looked a little shrunken and wrinkled which made me think it wasn't quite finished baking when I pulled it. But oh well. What could I do now?

double vanilla pound cake

This morning I can see that the bottom of the pound cake is a little underbaked, but who cares. This cake is tender and fine with that "barely perceptible crunch" as Rose puts it from the vanilla grains. I can't really tell if the flavor is better or more round as Rose says it is, because my sinuses are little on the clogged side killing my sense of smell and the finer notes of taste. But who's complaining? I ate my pound cake for breakfast with honey-sweetened mascarpone, fresh blueberries, and defrosted strawberries I picked in June. Yum, yum, and yum. I am planning on eating the same thing for lunch and dinner as well.

today's breakfast!


  1. Your little flecks are quite visible!
    Mine were scrapped in there but I could see the little sweethearts. But I could taste a wonderful flavour of butter and vanilla.
    This cake is perfect for fresh sweet summer fruits!
    And you have BEEN just plain busy, and a very busy baker. I'd give myself 2 months off if I had to make that guitar cake!
    But I believe Pinknest is the 'lanterne rouge' on this bake! Who's going to tell her?

  2. I think you'd better talk to Pinknest...you've known her the longest!

    I am trying really hard not to eat the entire pound cake right at this moment. It is really hard.

  3. mmm, that looks tasty. I may have to try that someday as well. Wish I could bake it sooner, but I'm on a chocolate truffle kick right now. So many desserts, so little time. Can you really taste the vanilla bean in a cake, though? It does make the batter look very pretty.

  4. i don't know about tasting the vanilla grains, gut you do get a nice little crunch if you pay attention. there is a nice full vanilla flavor and the cake is velvety and fine. i hope you do get to it someday!

    hey aldaigle, why aren't you keeping a blog so that we can all enjoy your truffles? just idly wondering. no pressure :)

  5. ECL,
    My cake had a little underdone spot too, but it didn't affect the taste as far as I could tell. I love your very noticeable dots of vanilla bean--the "using your fingernail" method must be the best!

  6. ECL, you are sweet! I have considered a baking/chocolate making blog, but I have decided that I probably can't write in a very interesting way like you (and your cohorts) do. I might try it out, though. If you read it, that would make at least 4 readers including my sisters and mom, woo!

    In an unrelated subject, do you know where the hell is the wednesday Portland farmer's market? I clicked on the google map that was ON THEIR WEBSITE, and that led me into the streets of nowhere up above the zoo. Then I moseyed out to 23rd, and a shopkeeper there said the market was in the Pearl. So I drove around down there for a bit, didn't see it, and gave up. grrr. I hate wasting time on getting lost in the city...

  7. BBC, i highly recommend the fingertip for getting out the grains; it worked much better than a knife! maybe then you'll get that ant gut cake you were hoping for?

    aldaigle, when i started blogging i had two, maybe three readers. if you blog it, they will come.

    also, according to the website i looked at, the weds farmers market is in the south park blocks at park and main from 10am-2pm. so that would make the shopguy right, sorta. i don't know about you, but i barely consider the south park blocks part of the pearl!

  8. Ah, I should have googled South Park in the first place. I only moved to the area in December, so I know enough about portland to know where the Pearl is, but not South Park. But I just googled it, and lo and behold there it was, way far away from where I was looking. Thanks!

  9. Looks delicious! I'm impressed that you can stand to bake in the summer -- I haven't had my oven on more than once since early July!

  10. Anonymous14/8/08 09:02

    Ooh that looks divine! I just got the Cake Bible and have been dying to try that recipe. I made the banana cake with sour cream ganache the other day- so good!

    I hope you feel better soon!

  11. aldaigle, you are welcome!

    raiuchka, thanks for the pastry recipe! i only bake in the summer if i can do it in the middle of the night.

    eatandbehappy, the banana cake is one of my favorites in the book. hope to see you around the blog in the future!