Vanilla Bean Bundt with Rosemary Caramel Sauce.
It's a stunner, right?
I tried to come up with a more clever name but nothing quite described the flavor explosion that is this cake.
I actually whipped up this swirly masterpiece on Sunday and photographed it (with major help from Tom Sands) on Monday but put off writing this post. Why you ask? Well, I got sucked into House of Cards and have finally made my way out of the Third Season. I'm a sucker for a good political drama, what can I say? Homemade cake can always sound daunting. I doubt Claire Underwood would ever attempt it. While the caramel sauce does take a bit of time to prepare, this is much simpler to assemble than a layer cake. It's plop a cake out of a bundt pan and drizzle it with caramel kind of simple. If you're feeling extra fancy you can even add the ring of rosemary for a visual cue to your eager cake eaters.
I've never been a big fan of vanilla cake. It has a tendency to be, well... dry. Dry and crumbly and boring. Basic. Vanilla is SO basic. That is until now. Vanilla Bean adds a little bit of class and je ne sais quoi (that's French for bomb flavor) to the basic vanilla cake recipe. This bundt cake is also everyone's favorite word: MOIST. Bleck. I feel gross just typing that. Moist is such a nasty word but I'd much rather describe my cake as moist than dry.
I want to slather everything in this caramel sauce.
Caramel is a testy flavor. People love it or hate it. In my observations, you're either a caramel person or a hot fudge person. I am almost always a hot fudge person but in recent years salted caramel has swayed me over to the caramel loving camp. Rosemary spiked caramel? Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. Herbal, fragrant, slightly savory, creamy candied caramel. Are you feeling me? Combined with that moist vanilla bean cake it will knock your socks off.
Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
- 3 cups flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, left on counter 20 min
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup milk, room temperature (I used soy)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl sift together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, etc.).
In another large bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed. Mix until light and fluffy. This typically takes about five minutes. Scrape vanilla bean seeds from the pods with the tip of a paring knife and add into butter mixture. Beat into butter for about one minute.
Next add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add in almond extract until well combined. At low speed add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Do not over beat as this will cause the cake to be more dry.
Now, generously spray pan with PAM or butter and flour it to prevent sticking. This is muy importante. Spoon the vanilla batter into pan, smoothing and spreading evenly. Gently tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake the bundt until the tip of a knife or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. This should take about 1 hour. Cool the cake in the pan at least one hour and then invert onto a rack and cool completely for one hour more. Store in an airtight container until ready to drizzle with caramel and serve.
Rosemary Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium sized, heavy saucepan, heat sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat. Whisk gently until sugar dissolves. Stop whisking and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Add in rosemary and cook over low heat for five minutes. Use tongs to remove the rosemary once the scent has filled the room.
Raise the heat slightly, gently swirling the pan and brushing the sides of the pan with a pastry brush to keep caramel from burning. After about ten to fifteen minutes, the mixture will reach a deep amber color, turn off heat immediately and remove from stovetop. This color change happens quickly so keep a sharp eye on your caramel.
Add in butter and cream and whisk until homogenous. Let caramel cool for at least half an hour before transferring to an airtight container to cool. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Take the caramel out half an hour prior to serving.
Pour caramel over cooled vanilla bean cake and enjoy!
Thank you Tom Sands for your photography!