The Simple Things.

Double Vanilla Butter Cake

Most girls I know would make their boyfriends elaborate cakes for their birthdays. You know, the kind that’s usually in multiple pans, layered between with a delicious filling, covered with a dreamy frosting and finally adorned with fruits or chocolate curls and a birthday message.

Well, as it turns out, I’m evidently not most girls. For I made my boyfriend a loaf of butter cake for his recent birthday.

Okay, if you have the same look my dad had when he saw the loaf (although his had a slight tinge of disappointment because it meant he couldn’t have a slice of the cake), let me explain.

Double Vanilla Buter Cake II

You see, this is how most desserts you see on this site (sans the cookies and occasional unadorned cake) go with my boyfriend- he takes an obligatory bite, makes an appropriately pleasant comment and goes back to whatever he was doing.

So when it comes to making a birthday cake he would actually love, my options were pretty much as wide as the variety of unadorned cakes.

Thankfully, this really moist and delicious butter cake (thanks to the addition of vanilla in two forms- extract and a vanilla bean) was one dessert the birthday boy lapped up.

And even I, who would pick a frosted chocolate layer cake over a slice of butter cake any day, have to say that it was some pretty damned good cake.

What can I say? The guy has, in more ways than one, taught me to appreciate the simpler things.

So until his next birthday rolls around, I’ll definitely keeping an eye out for any fantastic unadorned cakes that come my way.

Double Vanilla Butter Cake [Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible]

Double Vanilla Butter Cake III

Ingredients
45g milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g sifted cake flour
150g caster sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
184g salted butter, softened

  1. Preheat the oven at 175C. Grease a 4 cup loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the milk and vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Bring the milk almost to a boil. Remove the saucepan from heat and let the mixture stand to infuse until cool to room temperature. Scrap the black vanilla seeds from the pod into the milk. Set the pod aside†.
  3. Combine the vanilla-infused milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer, mix the dry ingredients to blend. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn to speed up to medium and beat for a minute.
  5. Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  7. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack. Makes one loaf
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16 Comments

  1. jiexian

     /  May 1, 2011

    May i know where can we buy vanilla pod?

    Reply
    • Hi, I got mine from Melbourne but I’ve seen them selling at Sun Lik and Jones the Grocer here in Singapore.

  2. I love Rose’s Bread Bible and this is the second recipe I’ve seen today adapted from the Cake Bible. I’m thinking a trip To Amazon is in order.

    Reply
  3. Simple things make for more elegant, in my opinion. I couldn’t agree more with your boyfriend. WIshing him a belated birthday :-)

    Bookmarked the recipe.

    Reply
    • Hi Rufus, two recipes in one day? It’s definitely a sign, if you ask me. And for what it’s worth, I have both her Bread and Cake Bible and just love them both.

      Aw, thank you, Anita! I’ve always thought butter cakes were a little understated but I certainly am a convert now :)

  4. This is so my kind of cake!

    Reply
  5. I dont usually judge a food by its looks, as some of the ugly looking ones do taste really good (just look at some Chinese dishes).

    Reply
  6. My mom’s a big fan of simple unfrosted cakes, particularly butter and marble cakes, so I’m with you on this! And you can’t go wrong with RLB; I bet it was moist and heavenly :)

    Reply
  7. I think it looks fantastic – and probably one of those cakes that you can’t help but having extra slices of and saying to yourself “it’s Okay! No frosting!”. In “My Sweet Life in Paris,” David Lebovitz gives a recipe for a chocolate loaf cake that he got from a Paris housewife that I’ve always wanted to try.

    Reply
  8. Yum, I am a simple cake man myself though as a cook I do enjoy the process of the more complex sugar constructions.

    Reply
    • I can so see why, Maris!

      I have to admit that I eat with my eyes as much as I do with my taste buds. But you’re absolutely right- some of the not so aesthetically pleasing food I’ve had are the best I’ve ever eaten! :)

      Hey Zhul :) Yeap anything that from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s pure gold :D

      I know exactly which cake that is, Andrea- I’ve been meaning to make that one forever too. And I would so rationalize having another slice that way, you’re totally a girl after my own heart :lol:

      Hi Rort. There’s quite nothing like a simple dessert eh? :)

  9. I would have preferred this cake over a traditional bday cake anyday. I’m a pound cake fan, and this sooo reminds me of a pound cake. Looks delish!

    Prissy

    Reply
  10. Your loaf cake is simply gorgeous! I like the lovely golden crust, and you did a very good job as the cake splits so nicely. I am sure it tastes deliciously moist and buttery. It certainly beats any birthday cakes that is layered and covered up with lots of cream. Your boyfriend has a very refined palate to be able to enjoy simple food ;)

    Reply
    • Thanks, Prissy! :)

      Hi HHB! Aw thank you! He does really appreciate the simpler things in life and has certainly set me down that path too :D

  11. This loaf of butter cake actually caught my attention and it is definitely no less appealing than any adorned layered cakes. I’m sure your boyfriend appreciates the effort, be it any kind of things you made for him. In fact more often it’s ourselves setting our own expectation. :)

    Reply
    • Hi Aimei :) You know, you’re absolutely right- we often set our own expectations way higher than other people’s. He definitely appreciated the cake, even more than any fancy layered ones I’ve made :)

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