- Cooking Time:
- Servings: 24
- Preparation Time:
BackstoryFrench vanilla isn't actually a type of vanilla, but rather a designation used to describe vanilla recipes that have heavy vanilla scent and contains vanilla grains. The name comes from the French style of making ice cream using egg yolks, cream, and vanilla beans. So when I tried to find a French vanilla cake recipe to study, not surprisingly, there didn't seem to be any. Anything I did find was just white cake mix with a smattering of random ingredients that varied from almond extract to gross amounts of cornstarch depending which recipe you read.
I then decided to make my own and take some inspiration from the ice cream method. I used lots of fresh vanilla, a few extra egg yolks, and a bit of cream with the milk for a rich cake that was moist and dense, yet still had a nice crumb. A simple meringue flavored with a bit of rose water was the perfect finish. Sweet, flavorful, and a nice textural match to the cake.
It took many, many, many tries to get this one to come out to something I like and would write up. They still brown a bit around the edges a bit more than I would prefer, but that doesn't affect the taste at all.
In trying to make the cake comparable to a French custard like ice cream, this cake is heavy, dense, and very powerful in flavor. I can see this recipe making for a wonderful layer cake as well. It's a comforting cupcake perfect for meeting the soon to come chilly winds that will be heralding in the fall.
If you want to read about actual varieties of vanilla, click HERE
This recipe with more photos, along with other recipes and essays can be found at my blog, Vanilla Garlic.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups of sugar or vanilla sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup of cream
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean
- Beat butter on high until soft for 30 seconds.
- Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, in a bowl.
- Measure out milk and vanilla extract in another glass. Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk.
- Mix in the flour mixture then the milk mixture, alternating between the two and ending with the flour.
- Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean.