Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

These little pound cakes are the perfect size for gifting, but why would you want to give them away? Actually, I will give one of these to my best friend Joelf, who turns just as old as Cookie and I today. His favorite flavor is vanilla, and he is a lover of the pound cake. He is also a lover of booze, and as these are soaked in a boozy syrup they are right up his alley. Unfortunately he is in the Dominican Republic and cannot eat his birthday pound cake, so The Jellos and I will take one for the team. We got your back my friend. And Happy Birthday! Now go eat an empananda and a mango for me.

July 11, 2010
Name of Cake: Joelf's Birthday Cake That I Will Eat For Him
Occasion: HCB, and Joelf's Birthday!
Constituents: vanilla bean pound cakes with a vanilla rum syrup

The pound cake gets put together quickly and easily once everything comes up to room temperature. The vanilla seeds are scraped from the pod and into the sugar. Rose wants you to whirl them around in the food processor to evenly distribute the seeds, but I didn't want to dirty the processor for one simple task. I used my fingers, which were already in there rubbing the seeds into the sugar, and I think it worked out just fine.

All the dry ingredients are mixed in the mixer for a bit, then all the butter and half of the liquids are added. This gets a good mix for 90 seconds, then the rest of the liquids are mixed in two parts. I forgot about the "two parts" part and dumped all the liquid in at once. It took a few extra seconds on low to get the mixture emulsified before I could raise the speed and finish the task, but no harm done. Rose warns the mixture would look curdled but mine only did for a split second, then became thick velvety batter.

Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

I doubled the recipe to get 5 mini pound cakes. A single recipe makes two pound cakes and two cupcakes. What is with all the extra cupcakes in this book? Anyhoots, I thought of the look on The Jellos' faces if I showed up tomorrow with one little mini pound cake, and decided to double the recipe. Now I have an extra cake for work or somebody lucky!

My oven troubles have led me to believe that the little oven thermometer I bought sucks ass. I think my oven is pretty spot on temperature wise, and it is my thermometer that is 25 degrees too hot. So I set the oven for 350 and put four of the five mini pound cakes on a cookie sheet and into the oven. The 5th one wouldn't fit on the sheet so it got a little bake in the toaster oven. That one got a little burnt so I am keeping that one for myself. The other four were actually ready after 35 minutes--more proof that my oven is fine and my thermometer is not!

Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

While the little cakes bake away the syrup is made. The recipe calls for vanilla cognac, but as I refuse to buy alcohol that I will probably only use once, I substituted for rum. Raymond soaked his vanilla pods in his syrup so I did the same. Thanks for the tip Raymond--I'm glad I did! Steeping the pods caught all the little seeds that I didn't get out earlier, plus it mellowed the rum out.  Not that Cockspur rum is harsh, but you know.

Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes
see all the seeds in the syrup and clinging to the pastry brush? yum.

The little toaster oven cake came out before I was ready to syrup so I've been brushing each slice with the vanilla rum syrup and it is really delicious. I can't wait to see how the others taste, after being syruped and sorted out for the next 24 hours. (And hopefully it will only take 24 hours instead of 36-48!)

Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes
toaster oven slice with brushed-on vanilla rum syrup

Joelf, this year's birthday cake may not be as decadent or fancy as last year's chocolate peanut butter cake, but it is lovely and delicious all the same.  The only thing missing is you.   Happy birthday homes!


  1. Happy Birthday to Joelf. You seem to have got older quicker this year...has it really been a whole year since the peanut butter cake?
    It is an interesting thought to count your years in past remembered cakes! (I would be 30 chocolate cakes, 17 vanilla cakes, 3 lemon cakes, 3 cheesecakes and 2 carrot cakes old. I think.
    Your little rum vanilla drunk cakes look so sweet. Good thinking to double the recipe. Don't want anyone getting the cake-lack hump!

  2. ב''ה

    Fun post. I'm sure Joelf will be very glad that you are eating his cake for him. :)

    Toaster baking? Glad you gave it a try.

    your cakes look delicious.

  3. great idea to sub for rum! I should try that next time! I have lots of!

  4. I finally figured out how to post a comment on your site.....! Duh!!! These little cakes seem to take well to any and all alcohol! I couldn't justify buying another bottle of specialty booze as well.

  5. So nice of you to make Joelf a cake and eat it for're the best friend ever! :) I also don't understand the "cake with a couple extra cupcakes" thing that is going on in that book. It's a pain. But the cakes are super tasty, so I won't complain too much!

  6. Rum = Yum! :)

    Happy Birthday to Joelf!!


  7. Melinda, I love that you truly counted your years in birthday cakes! Mine would go something like 17 baskin robbin ice cream cakes, a few chocolate-vanilla cakes, six or seven years of lame or no cake, and then 10 years of awesome cakes that I've baked myself.

    The last year has whizzed on by pretty fast, hasn't it? And yes, everybody needs their own little pound cake. No need to fight over the last slice.

    Mendy, you have totally changed the way I look at my toaster oven. Thank you!!

    faithy, thanks! I use rum a lot, apparently. It goes with so much!

    Vicki, congratulations! :) Your peach brandy take sounds delicious.

    Amanda, thanks, I think so too! :) It seems that the HCB have been able to incorporate the extra batter into the cake without mishap, so why? But you're right, the cakes are delicious!

    ButterYum, nice rhyme lady!

  8. Thanks so much for baking and eating my cake for me! You will have to bake more when I see you next!

    This year really has gone by quickly!!! What a ride!

    love you,

  9. Funny post, ECL. I always love your version of the cake name, this one in particular is hillarious :).

    Happy birthday to Joelf!

  10. Joelf, you bet your sweet birthday ass I'll bake more when I see you next! Love you!

    Jenn, thanks! Glad you liked it :)

  11. What a friend you are eating the cake for the birthday boy. Your cake sounds so good with the vanilla rum. Great job.

  12. Anonymous14/7/10 16:09

    jen, that's so sweet that you baked a birthday cake for joelfre and then ate it. Looks yum (as we say in NZ). have you made a pavlova? it's a hugely popular dessert here. I've never tried it.
    love you,

  13. hi annamaria, i have made a funky version of a pavlova; the oven smoked so the meringue came out brownish. it was also huge. but it was good anyway.

    here's the blog post about it, in case you want to see it.

    try pavlova, i bet you might like it if it isn't too sweet. and keep posting!

    love, jen


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