Vanilla beans are quite an extravagance where I live. I once spotted a shriveled bean going for RM30. Where a bowl of noodles can cost as little as RM5, you would understand where I’m coming from.
Paul, an avid baker came to visit and brought me a bottle of Madagascar vanilla bean paste. What a thoughtful gift! I knew he went through quite a bit of trouble for this – having checked-in luggage for a 45 minutes flight because the bottle was 118ml, just a wee bit above the carry-on limits.
I made sure whatever I make with the paste, it has to be worthy of this precious spice. This pound cake fits the bill perfectly. And I’m sure Paul would agree.
Pound Cake with orange icing (adapted from JoyofBaking.com)
Makes one 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf
To spice things up a bit, I topped it with orange vanilla icing. You can leave this out if you want.
For the cake
- 1 ½ cups (150 grams) sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ + 1/3 cup (185 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ to ¾ cups (100 to 150 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
For the orange icing (optional)
- Juice and zest of ½ orange
- Seeds of ½ vanilla pod / ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 100 to 150 grams icing sugar
Preheat oven to 325°F / 170°C.
Grease and flour the loaf pan or line with baking paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, for about 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Reduce speed to medium, and add 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons milk. Lightly beat eggs and add in 2 additions, mixing thoroughly after each and scraping down sides.
Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just combined.
Scrape batter into pan, and smooth tops with a spatula.
Bake until a knife inserted into cake comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes. Cover with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil after about 30 minutes if you find the cake browning too much as it bakes.
Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing: Whisk together orange juice, zest, vanilla seed and icing sugar (start with smaller amount of icing sugar and gradually add more until you get a slightly thick but still runny consistency)
Pour glaze over the cooled cake, letting it drip over the sides.
The cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 – 5 days.