If I were going to write this cake a letter, it would go something like this:
Dear Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake,
That’s quite a long name. I know we just met, but may I call you something else? Like Mabel? Mabel is a good name. It reminds me of great grandmothers and hugs and crochet and Earl Grey tea in mismatched teacups. The name Mabel has history behind it. It’s been around for generations – just like I hope you will be.
So let’s start over:
Dearest Mabel –
I know we just met, but sometimes, you meet
people cakes, and you just know you’re going to be friends. Like BFFs. I know we’ll stick together for a really, really long time. Like my entire life.
I know I’m going to see you again and again for all those special moments when something in life is worth celebrating, and again for those moments in life that are not so special, but you will make them be.
I hope that when my children are out of the house and away at school, I can send you to them, and when they open up the box with you inside, their taste buds will dance and their nose will tickle and their minds will meander to decades past and to the house where they did all their important growing up business, and their hearts will melt with happy memories. I hope when they are far away and they taste you again, they will feel like I am sitting there with them on the couch, cozied up under a fuzzy blanket with my arm wrapped around their shoulders.
I hope my daughter will learn to mix you up and pop you in the oven when she’s in the mood to create something beautiful. For that matter, I hope my sons do too. Maybe when they are courting a prospective spouse, you can help seal the deal.
I hope my grandchildren experience you and you become known as “that cake Grandma used to make”, and then “that cake Great-Grandma used to make”.
You see Mabel, I’m expecting you to stick around for a long, long time.
You are both dazzling and classic. Beautiful and understated. Thoughts of you will linger in people’s memories long after they have swallowed their last bite. They’ll speak of you months or years later, “Remember that cake? Mabel? She was amazing. Quiet, and beautiful, and classy. She had such taste. The perfect companion for just about anything.”
You are a history maker.
And I’m pleased to have made your acquaintance.
In all sincerity,
Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
seeds of one vanilla bean, scraped ( 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract should work here too, in a pinch)
For the glaze:
1 cup vanilla chips (I used Nestle Premium White Chips)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
seeds of one vanilla bean, scraped
For the cake:
Butter and flour a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan and set aside.
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, salt, and water over medium heat. Cook, stirring, just until melted and combined. Remove from heat add in vanilla bean scrapings (caviar). Stir to mix evenly. Set aside.
Put flour, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add half of the melted butter mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until completely incorporated. The mixture will be thick. Add remaining butter mixture and whisk again until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking each to blend completely before adding the next. Whisk in sour cream until smooth.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (between 40 – 50 minutes).
Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Then gently invert onto rack and remove pan. Let cool completely before glazing.
For the glaze:
In a microwave safe bowl, combine vanilla chips, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Microwave for 60 seconds. Stir. If chips are not completely melted, return to the microwave and cook for 15 second increments until vanilla chips are melted and glaze is smooth. Once glaze reaches the desired consistency, add in the scrapings of one vanilla bean and mix thoroughly. Gently pour glaze over cake.
Source: Adapted from Shutterbean.