Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

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.


23 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

    • Brett? What kind of a name is Brett? No, no… a maple bacon cupcake needs a macho, yet sensitive name. Brett doesn’t fit that bill. We need a name that captures the essense of all that is great about bacon. Baconius? Sounds like a Gladiator. Baconius Mapleus, the cupcake to conquer all cupcakes…

      • Oh, wait… you said CHOCOLATE bacon cupcake, not MAPLE bacon cupcake. Well, now don’t I feel sheepish. You must be talking about your creation, not mine. Whoops. Your cupcake can be named Sir Baconius, if you like. Baconius Mapleus has, unfortunately, just been taken.

  1. Had the pleasure of meeting Mabel and enjoyed her company VERY much!!!
    Will be enjoying some more of her company tonight with a bedtime (decaf) “cafe con leche”………

  2. This looks so good! I’m going to try this one soon. It will be my first time using a real-live vanilla bean! I am still trying to wrap my head around our kids being away at school, though!

    • I’ll bring you a couple vanilla beans this morning! You have longer to wait than I do for the “away at school’ days!

      • Thanks for the beans! I love how they were taped to the door! Not sure if you know, but I borrowed a knife from you, too 🙂 rice Krispy treat emergency…

  3. Mabel wears her name well, I think! 😉 Looks equally beautiful and delicious! But any ideas for vanilla chips substitutes? Don´t think that´s to be found around here….

    • Thanks! Yes, I’m sure you could use white chocolate chips – they are a little more finicky to melt, but equally as delicious. A double boiler does the trick, or adding a little bit of oil or butter can help too if they are not smoothing out. Double boiler though works well – or a heat-proof glass bowl over (but not touching) boiling water.

      • Oh! And Nestle makes “Premium White Chips” – that’s actually what I used. They are not white chocolate, but have a vanilla flavor. They are packaged in the yellow Nestle bag with a blue stripe – in the chocolate chip section of the grocery store.

  4. “Mini-Mabels” get rave reviews at baby shower! Tried this recipe as cupcakes and they were a big hit. They went so fast that my 12 year old asked me to make another batch–SOOON! I only have 3 tips/comments to offer if you try this. 1. The recipe makes about 21 cupcakes (I was hoping for 23 to fill my cupcake tier stand) 2. If using pretty patterned paper liners, use two per cupcake when baking as the single papers didn’t look so pretty after baking. Two looks great. 3. I tried drizzling a little chocolate on top of the recipe’s glaze, then sprinkled blue sugar crystals on top to go with the blue theme for the shower. My chocolate drizzle was too thick, but if done correctly, makes a pretty touch. It tasted good but then, like bacon, everything tastes good with a hint of chocolate in my opinion. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this wonderfully moist and delicious treasure; it’s going in our family favorites file today!

    • Oh good! I’m glad they worked out. I was actually just thinking about you this morning, hoping that all went well! The chocolate drizzle was a good idea. I wonder how it would taste with bacon bits AND chocolate?? 😉

  5. Pingback: Buttery Bundt Cake For St. Patrick’s Day

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