Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes

This baking was a nice experience. I used Chicago Metallic mini loaf pans that said to lower the temperature of the oven 25 degrees, so I did-to 325'. Everything seemed okay until the 15-minute time when the split down the middle was to be imminent. I decided to go with it and learned quickly about imminent. I should have waited for the split to begin, which it didn’t, and my slit went into soup. The instructions tell me to tent it. I did. At around the right time, I take a temperature reading for 196’ and Thermopen says it is 205’. It still seemed a little soupy to me, but I just have to learn to trust sometime. I took them out. I would have liked a little more color, and rise, but next time I will know more. It still seems a toss up between pan and oven, or whatever and oven. Soon, I hope experience will guide me.

It does seem that there is so much “next time” for me that I would welcome the opportunity for us to re-bake all of these cakes. Of course, there are considerations – like with this one, when my husband came home bearing vanilla beans - $32.00 for 4 mini cakes. He tentatively inquired, “When will this end?” I could not answer in good faith, realizing, as I do, that it is somewhat of a long manic episode. Friends now call and say, “Oh, are you baking?” No more Saturday and Sunday brunches. They don’t seem interested in coming over to read directions to me, or measure ingredients. Fair weather, I’d say. Oh well, I lament, reaching for my trusty KD 7000. I am even beginning to speak the lingo.

Yet, these little cakes withstood my usual forgetfulness, not starting the timer on time; losing flour out of the back of the bowl when adding butter or whatever. So, all things being equal, the cakes went into the oven in pretty good shape. I think in my case the tenting could have been omitted, but who can be that picky?

Easy mis en place. 

Easy execution, easy unmolding from Baker’s Joy and non-stick pans.

Easy syruping. Instead of cognac, I used a tablespoon of Cherry Heering, and served the cake on a coulis of cherry. I had to chuckle - the bottle of Cherry Heering was acquired some time ago, when two tablespoons or so were required for a recipe. At that time, the liquor store owner laughed, and ‘lowed as how he hadn’t sold a bottle of that in 20 years. This was his last one. I’m sure he thanked us for stopping by.

Easy cooling. I pilfered a bite from one of the slices of the cake and it was, amazingly, light as a feather. This was not like any pound cake I have ever had. Light, subtle flavor, angelic crumb. Perfect.

I might not have to re-bake this recipe to prove a point to myself, after all. But, I shall definitely do it to delight myself; that is for sure. I will deliver these cakes as  gifts to 4 friends tomorrow. I think they will be delighted as well.


  1. Looks beautiful. What lucky friends!

  2. I love giving baked goods as gifts, they seem more special and personalized somehow. I love any recipe with vanilla as a central ingredient, so this sounds really yummy! Lovely idea.

  3. I think your cake looks yummy! WOW $32 for how many stalks of vanilla beans? In fact i like your flat top pound cake better! Actually i made my slit before the actual slit came out and made it a few times because i wasn't sure if it was deep! Thankfully didn't the batter didn't fall on me..cos i opened the oven door a few!

  4. ב''ה

    I buy my vanilla beans in bulk, at Costco. I do not know if they have something like that in your area. You could save a lot!

    Light and feathery pound cake? Wow. That sounds great. Well done.

  5. Great recipe! I hope you were able to get at least 1/2 a pound of vanilla for $34! If not, check out, they have 8 (yes 8!) different types of whole vanilla beans... all Grade A and amazing quality. Prices start at just $1.25/bean and decrease with larger quantity orders.

  6. I've never heard of Cherry Heering but it sounds delicious with this cake and cherries. I spent a great deal of money in the beginning when I started baking along with Heavenly Cake Bakers. Now, I improvise on occasion. It doesn't seem to matter as Rose's recipes leave a lot of wiggle room. I even had to write notes to myself with each recipe, making my own set of battle plans!

  7. Hi Joan - I had to laugh at your husband's reaction to $32 worth of vanilla beans. That is definitely something my husband would have said.

    As for your flavor combo - I can practically taste it - how wonderful you have a supply of cherry heering!! I really love how you served your pound cake with assorted cherries. Lovely!

    By the way, do you have a Costco nearby? I buy my vanilla beans there - soft, plump, and really delicious... I get 10 for $12.


  8. Beautiful cakes and even more beautifully gift wrapped. Your friends will be delighted.
    That's expensive $32 for 4 vanilla beans. I think when I make these I would cheat and use vanilla paste instead (I know not exactly the same but it's cheaper :)).

  9. They look beautiful, Joan!! I'm with you on the split. When my timer went off after 15 minutes, I was like, this isn't ready to be cut into because it's still soupy. Went back to the book and it said "as soon as it starts to develop a crack". Well, it hadn't so I gave it about 3-4 minutes, but in hind sight, I could have waited longer because my split wasn't all that pretty. Regardless, the cake tasted really good! I love how you wrapped yours so nicely!! Your friends must be so lucky!

    Btw, $32 for 4 vanilla beans is too much. Next time, check out If there's no store in your area, you can order online from them. I think they sell them for $2 each.

  10. Thank you all for your great help! I called the market where my husband bought ours, and the cost was even more than I had thought. He had paid $10.99 each. So he thanks you all, Brent, Hanaa, and my mentor Butteryum for helping us defray this cost. I am ordering some as we speak. But, even much more for always being there in your caring and support. It is a constant source of joy for me to know what a loving group we are.

  11. Brent, et al: I just obtained 10 Tahitian vanilla beans $8.95 for 10 + $3.00 shipping from This is great price since I am not a member of Costco. Thanks everyone for the resources from me and my long-suffering husband lol.

  12. I love the way you packaged the cakes for your friends, animal prints are my thing!! Your cakes look great. Check out Chef Rubber for vanilla beans and other pastry chef related items. I buy in quantity and freeze them.
    BTW Babycakes is doing great. She is walking on all 4 legs again.

  13. Thanks. My three Maus send sweet prrrs to him. He is so adorable.