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Vanilla & Sour Cream Pound Cake with Vanilla Glaze

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Serves 12

  • To learn more, read:
    Pure Vanilla Flavor
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 71

Vanilla beans and their tiny seeds lend an especially intense flavor and heavenly aroma to any dessert. Here, we've got double the vanilla; the seeds are incorporated in both the cake and the glaze, creating not only delicious flavor, but also a beautifully speckled thick glaze.  

For the cake:
  • 1/2 lb. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the  pan
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • Seeds scraped from 3/4 vanilla bean, or 2-1/2  tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
Tip:
It's important not to forget the salt in vanilla recipes. Without it, the vanilla flavor will be flat and boring.
For the glaze:
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 3 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. light corn syrup
  • Seeds scraped from 1/4 vanilla bean, or 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Make the cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour the bottom and sides of a 10-cup fluted tube pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk until well blended. Beat the butter on medium-high speed with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a large bowl and a hand-held electric mixer) until smooth, 1 min. Add the sugar and vanilla bean seeds or extract and continue beating until well combined and fluffy, 2 min. Stop to scrape the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well for 30 seconds and then stopping to scrape the bowl after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add the sour cream and mix until just blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat on low speed until just blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top of the cake is light brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few small crumbs attached, 50 to 55 min.

Transfer the cake pan to a rack and let cool for about 15 min. If necessary, run a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto the rack and lift off the pan. Set the rack over a large sheet of waxed paper or foil (to catch the glaze later) and let the cake cool completely.

Glaze the cake:

In a small bowl, combine the confecctioners’ sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, and vanilla bean seeds or extract. Stir until well blended, smooth, and shiny. The glaze should be thick but fluid enough to fall from a spoon. If it isn’t, add more cream, 1 tsp. at a time, until the glaze thins to the right consistency. Spoon the glaze evenly over the top of the cake. The glaze should form thick ribbons that drip down the sides of the cake. If the glaze resists dripping on its own, use the back of the spoon to encourage it. Let the glaze set for at least 1 hour before serving. Store loosely covered at room temperature for up to three days. (The cake can also be frozen unglazed.)

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on twelve servings; Calories (kcal): 490; Fat (g): fat g 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 14; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 62; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 290; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 160; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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