Vanilla bean pound cake, filled with cranberry compote and white chocolate frosting.
I can’t believe we’re just a few days away from Thanksgiving! The holidays are surely upon us and I absolutely love it! (I’ve had Christmas music on in my car since the day after Halloween. I know I’m not alone on that one, am I right?)
One of the many reasons I love the holidays is all the seasonal baking I get to do: pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, gingerbread, hazelnut, cranberry. There’s just so much to choose from! I’ve already shared a couple of these flavors with you (make sure to check my archives for the sweet potato cake, the gingerbread cake and the pumpkin cake. I love them all!). For my next holiday-inspired cake, I wanted to incorporate cranberries. Last year I made a gingerbread cranberry white chocolate cake, but since I just recently did the gingerbread latte cake, I decided to go for a vanilla cake, and knew it would pair perfectly with the cranberry compote and white chocolate frosting.
I had actually come across a cranberry white chocolate cake recipe on Pinterest a while ago, so I went back to that one and decided to give the vanilla cake recipe a try to see how it compared with some of the vanilla cakes I’ve already made.
For the first go-around, I tried the recipe exactly as it was printed (as I always do), and ran into a few issues. My first concern was that it said it was a “one bowl” cake – that means you’re basically throwing everything into your mixer at once and giving it a whirl. From all the reading and research I’ve done on cakes over the years, that seemed like a red flag to me, but I went with it. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out to my liking. The original recipe said to add the butter and other wet ingredients to the already mixed dry ingredients and mix until smooth. However, my batter never became smooth (even though my butter was at room temperature). I decided to bake the cake anyway to see what would happen. Here’s a look:
Because of the clumps of butter in the batter, it crinkled and was kind of oily on top. To my surprise, however, when I leveled it and tried some scraps, I didn’t hate it. I decided it had some good components as far as flavor and texture go, but it needed a few tweaks. First and foremost, the instructions needed to be reworked. For round two, I creamed by butter and sugar first, then added my eggs (one at a time), then greek yogurt (one of the changes I made), and then I alternated adding the sifted dry ingredients with milk, ending with the dry ingredients. The other changes I made include: decreasing the flour a little, sifting the flour, adding vanilla bean, using whole milk instead of lowfat and using plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
I’m really happy with the flavor, but even my revised version is a little dense in texture, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’ve had many people tell me they like a denser cake over a lighter, fluffy cake. If that’s you, I think you’ll really like this cake. And I think the cake pairs really nicely with the light, whipped white chocolate frosting.
Vanilla beans straight from Switzerland (they’re so cheap there, I had to stock up and even had my sister’s boyfriend get me more when he visited a few months ago)
These cakes were for a holiday photoshoot, so when I dropped them off, I snapped a couple pictures but they don’t do justice to the beautiful spread being put together. I can’t wait to get the professional shots back. I’ll be sure to share!