The Queen of Beans: Vanilla Layer Cake with Sour Cream

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<em>Makes two 9-inch layers</em>
<p>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.</p>
<p>• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened<br />
• 2 cups vanilla sugar or regular sugar<br />
• 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature<br />
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract<br />
• 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or scrape seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean<br />
• 3 1/2 cups flour<br />
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder<br />
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda<br />
• 1/2 teaspoon salt<br />
• 1 1/2 cups sour cream</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>3. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.</p>
<p>4. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture in three parts, alternating with sour cream in two parts.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
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<em>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</em> Designing an Herb Garden <em>(Sterling Publishing, 2004).</em>
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<strong>The Queen of Beans: Vanilla Recipes</strong>

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