Author Notes: Some guidelines for adding flavors:
Seeds: 1 teaspoon or less of aromatic seeds such as caraway, fennel or anise, or as much as 3 to 4 tablespoons poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds.
Citrus: Grate the zest of a medium orange or large lemon directly into the bowl to catch the spray of fragrant oil as well as zest; you can add 1 teaspoon orange flower water with the orange zest, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract with the lemon zest.
Cardamom: Crushed seeds from 3 or 4 pods or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Saffron: 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and sprinkled over the cream a few minutes before using. —Alice Medrich
Makes: one 8-inch cake
cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
teaspoons baking powder
large eggs, at room temperature
cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 grams) sugar
teaspoons vanilla extract
tablespoons butter, melted and warm
cup heavy cream, lukewarm
Optional flavorings (see headnote)
- Line the bottom of an 8-inch round pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 375° F with a rack in the lower third.
- Whisk the flour and baking powder together thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla on high speed until it is thick and pale, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Beat in the melted butter, then add the flour mixture and fold and stir until blended. Stir in the cream and any add-ins. Scrape into the pan.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool.
- After at least 10 minutes (but you can wait as long as you like), slide a slim knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and peel off the paper liner.
- Turn the cake right side up to cool completely on the rack before using or storing. Cake keeps at room temperature, wrapped airtight, for about 3 days, or in the freezer up to 3 months.
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