This cake will forever be known as the cake that broke my electric hand mixer. To be fair, I had a £5 one from Argos second-hand, but the poor thing completely died when I tried to beat the butter! After a futile attempt at changing the fuse, I decided that maybe L could pick one up for me on her way home. But, being mother’s day weekend, all the good mixers were sold out in town. So, I mixed an entire bundt cake by hand… ouch. I now own a new 5-speed, extra quiet Bosch mixer, and I’m excited to test it out!
I opted for a vanilla cake because the in-laws like “classic” flavours a.k.a nothing too adventurous. Nonetheless, when we brought the cake over to celebrate UK mother’s day, they had never heard of this type of cake. I couldn’t help but think of the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Even though this mysterious cake had a hole in the middle, they enjoyed it. It was also my first attempt at making gum paste/fondant decorations, and these were definitely more labour intensive than mixing the batter by hand!
This recipe is from Sweetapolita, and the cake is dense like a pound cake. It is packed with vanilla flavour, and tastes like good-quality vanilla ice cream. The vanilla bean glaze is what initially drew me to this cake because I didn’t want to bring cupcakes covered in buttercream to serve after a large roast dinner.
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
250 g. unsalted butter, softened (1 small pack)
2 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Ingredients for the Glaze:
1 vanilla bean split and scraped, or 1 tbsp. of vanilla bean paste (I had half a vanilla bean so I additionally used 1/2 tbsp. of paste)
3 tbsp. whole milk
about 1 cup of icing sugar
Pre-made yellow fondant for the flowers
Green gel dye (for stems)
Preheat the oven to 176C with a middle rack. Butter and dust your bundt pan. I used an 8 inch pan, but I think this recipe is more suited for a 9 inch because my batter rose over the tin slightly.
Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. [Cry into your bowl when your mixer dies and you have to finish beating by hand.]
Add the vanilla bean paste to the butter mixture and beat for 1 minute.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. On low-speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Use a rubber spatula to spoon the batter into the pan, smoothing and spreading evenly. Gently tap the pan to eliminate air bubbles. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely.
Instructions for the Glaze:
Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the whole milk. Add extra vanilla bean paste if needed. Let it sit in a Pyrex measuring cup for about 1 hour. Add icing sugar gradually, whisking until you get a desired pouring consistency. You want it to be liquid but not too runny, otherwise it will dry clear. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and decorate further if desired.
I rolled out pre-made yellow fondant on top of cling film dusted with cornstarch, and used a hand drawn daffodil stencil for the pattern. I rested the flowers on table spoons so that they would dry slightly curved. The daffodil flutes are made by hollowing out a ball of dough with the end of a paint brush.