Moist and buttery, this cake (adapted from Nielsen-Massey) couldn't be simpler to make. Using vanilla paste and vanilla extract gives it a depth of fragrant, sophisticated vanilla flavor that elevates the cake from everyday status. Sweetened, vanilla-flecked whipped cream tops it off.
If you can't find vanilla bean paste, substitute with an equal amount of vanilla extract. —Posie (Harwood) Brien
- Makes one 8-inch round cake
- For the cake:
granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting the pan
eggs, warmed slightly (see step 2)
vanilla bean paste
butter, melted and cooled
- For the Chantilly cream:
vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment, grease the sides and base, and dust it with granulated sugar. Set aside.
- If your eggs are cold, place them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Having your eggs warmed will help with the next step of beating lots of air into them.
- In a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand-held electric mixer), beat the eggs with the sugar for 4 to 5 minutes. Don't skimp on this step! The mixture should be pale and almost doubled in size. When you lift up your beater, the mixture should fall in thick ribbons.
- Add the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and salt and mix gently.
- Sift the flour over the egg mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour into the batter until no streaks remain. You want to be careful not to deflate all that air you just spent time beating into the eggs and sugar.
- Add the melted butter to the batter and fold gently but thoroughly using a spatula until the batter is well-mixed.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake should start to pull away from the sides. It will puff up considerably in the oven, but will deflate a bit once you take it out, which is fine.
- Run a knife around the edges of the pan and let the cake cool for 5 minutes. Turn it out into a wire rack to finish cooling.
- To make the Chantilly cream, beat the cream with the vanilla bean paste and sugar until stiff peaks form. Serve the cake sliced and topped with the cream.