Here’s a staple. Here’s a go-to. Here’s a show-stopper. Here’s a pat on the back. Here’s a thumbs up, a high-five, a surprise kiss on the mouth. This cake is one of the best I’ve ever made… just one of those solid gold, stand-bys that WERK.
It’s a shout out to New Orleans, a shout out to dang good cake, and maybe my favorite recipe in this month’s Better Homes & Garden issue featuring all sorts of fantastic Big Easy-inspired recipes.
Pick up a copy of Better Homs & Gardens if not for these Dirty Rice Stuffed Tomatoes alone.
Please do this! It’s just too good. Here’s how:
I create habits in the kitchen. Routine helps me not have to second guess things like… did I already add the salt… wait, did I forget the baking powder.
As part of this routine, I always whisk the dry ingredients together first.
Flour in a bowl.
Add salt. (I really love a flakey sea salt like Maldon even in cakes and cookies. A salty bite is just right.)
Baking soda + baking powder. Rising power.
This cake is solid gold. Solid, dependable, flavorful, classic and really we owe a lot of that to two sticks of butter, almost two cups of sugar, and hellloooooo, 4 eggs.
Strong. Listen, we’re comin in hot and we’re doin’ it RIGHT.
Vanilla – we’ll use a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract or the scraping of one fresh vanilla bean pod OR if you’re me… vanilla extract + this vanilla bean powder that I love.
Once the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla are creamed together we’ll add the wet and dry ingredients – alternating.
Oh! I should mention… the butter and egg mixture may look like it’s curdled to you. There’s just a lot of moisture for the butter to deal with. You likely haven’t done anything wrong. It’s nothing flour and buttermilk can’t sort out! It will come together.
Buttermilk and dry ingredients. Back and forth forever… or till it’s all mixed in and smooth.
Scrape the bottom of the bowl to find any un-mixed bits.
Well buttered and well floured. It’s a must for bundt pans. We want all the nooks and creases to release our cake. No fights.
While the cake bakes we’ll make an easy praline sauce.
Butter + heavy cream + salt + brown sugar are melted together in a small saucepan until smooth and glossy.
With the cake cooled to room temperature we’ll spoon just slightly warmed praline over the cake.
This is a good idea from start to finish.
Once glazed, the cake will rest chilled or at room temperature until the praline sets. Then it’s time for slicing and serving.
This is the most satisfying vanilla bundt cake I’ve ever made. It’s forgiving and moist and flavorful. With or without the praline, make this you go-to! It would be equally delicious with lemon zest and an aggressive amount of poppy seeds. Go forth and happy baking!
Photos with Jon Melendez who also has a really lovely blog!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 vanilla bean pods, split open and beans scraped
- small splash almond extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecan halves, some halves left whole
- To make the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously grease a bundt pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until the the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Occasionally stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the mixture creams evenly.
- Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs, one at a time, for 1 minute between each addition.
- Beat in the vanilla bean scrapings until evenly combined. Add the splash of almond.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the mixer and, mixing on low, slowly stream in the buttermilk. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the mixture with a spatula to ensure that all of the ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Dollop batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Invert cake onto a sire rack and allow to cool completely.
- To make the praline topping, in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat combine brown sugar, butter, heavy cream, and salt. Stir until the mixture is melted, well combined, and smooth, about 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Allow to cool slightly until the consistency is thick and spoonable. Spoon over cooled cake and allow to rest until the praline sets.
- If you find that the praline sets before drizzling the cake, gently reheat it over low heat, adding a dash more heavy cream if necessary.
- Store cake, in an airtight container at room temperature.