Makes two 9-inch layers
This cake is no lightweight — in flavor, texture or calories. The cake is moist and dense because of the sour cream, which lends a slight tang and richness to the vanilla flavor. Frost it with the Vanilla Butter Cream for a very vanilla delight.
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 2 cups vanilla sugar or regular sugar
• 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or scrape seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
• 3 1/2 cups flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups sour cream
1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms of the pans with two cut-out circles of wax paper, butter them and dust lightly with flour.
2. Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating continually. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add vanilla extract and paste or seeds and combine well.
3. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture in three parts, alternating with sour cream in two parts.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in center of oven at 350 degrees until cake tops are pale golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake.
6. Cool cakes for 5 to 10 minutes, loosen sides gently with a spatula, remove from pans and invert on cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Susan Belsinger is a culinary herbalist and author of several cooking and gardening books. Her most recent contribution to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s All-Region Guide is now available in Designing an Herb Garden (Sterling Publishing, 2004).
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The Queen of Beans: Vanilla Recipes