Tag Archives: celebration cakes

Funfetti Bundt Cake

Funfetti Bundt CakeFunfetti, confetti, whatever you want to call it, white cake dotted with rainbow sprinkles is one of my favorite things on earth. Like, I logically know that sprinkles don’t qualify as a flavor, but that won’t keep me from saying that sprinkles are my favorite flavor. Seriously, add sprinkles to pretty much anything and I’ll love it. Those little pops of color are just so…happy. Is happiness a flavor?Funfetti Bundt CakeI haven’t made many layer cakes in the last year—it’s hard to believe I used to make 10-20 a month!—but that doesn’t mean I haven’t fed my craving for rainbow sprinkles. Last summer’s Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes are one of my favorite recipes in a long time, as is this Funfetti Bundt Cake.Funfetti Bundt CakeLike the traditional layer cake, this is a moist sour cream white cake positively loaded with rainbow sprinkles. Unlike the traditional cake, this batter takes exactly four minutes to mix; just dump everything in a bowl and let your electric mixer have at it until it’s impossibly smooth, thick and voluminous, then stir in 3/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles before baking.

Like most bundt cakes, this one takes its sweet time to bake and cool, but I promise your patience will be rewarded. Once your cake hits room temperature, pour on a glaze, scatter on some more sprinkles and slice it up! Funfetti Bundt Cake would be great for birthdays, picnics, holidays or any old time.Funfetti Bundt CakeI know that restrictions are starting to loosen as vaccines becomes more available, but if you’re not attending gatherings that require a cake of this size, don’t worry, I’m not either. What that means is that I happen to know that this recipe halves well and can be baked in a loaf pan for your immediate pod or just yourself. I don’t know about you, but dipping into my own personal Funfetti cake over the course of a week sounds a lot like happiness to me.Funfetti Bundt Cake

Funfetti Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt*

Cake:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract or imitation butter extract (optional)
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies or nonpareils)

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust well with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg whites, vanilla, almond extract, sour cream and milk in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold rainbow sprinkles into batter.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the teaspoon up to 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 2 tablespoon increments. Pour over cake. Scatter rainbow sprinkles on immediately. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Note:

This recipe may be halved and baked in a parchment-lined 9×5-inch loaf pan. Start checking the cake for doneness at the 55 minute mark.

Funfetti Bundt CakeFunfetti Bundt Cake

Friday Favorites: The Last Five Years

Leading up to this site’s five year anniversary earlier this week, I spent some time scrolling through my archives in search of my absolute favorite E2 Bakes recipes. I stand by them all, of course, but there are over 500. I have favorites. There, I said it.

For context, these favorites are the ones I return to time and time again, or those that are simply the best I’ve ever had in various categories. After going through the recipe index, this list was 50 recipes long! I could absolutely write a little blurb about each of them, but I didn’t want to subject you or myself to that. I’ve painstakingly pared it down to ten twelve fifteen. So here they are: fifteen recipes to encompass the last five years.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsCocoa Brownies

Of all the brownie recipes I’ve made I’m the last five years, these are my favorites. Even with a cocoa base, they’re fudgy as can be. Oh, and they’re easy too—you can mix the batter right in the pot you use to melt the butter, sugar and cocoa! These were my first post (and my 544th!), and I can guarantee you that I’ll still be obsessed with them when I hit a thousand posts and beyond.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsOvernight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
I grew up near a truly excellent doughnut shop, and have been surprisingly disappointed in the quality of doughnuts in New York City. (For your safety and mine, let’s never discuss The Doughnut Plant.) I’ve found one (!) doughnut that I like in thirteen years of residency. One! That’s unacceptable. Long story short, I started making my own yeast-raised doughnuts and never looked back. These are legitimately the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. Ever. In my life. And I know, because I have used this recipe over and over to make twists and cinnamon roll doughnuts and…again, they are *the* best doughnuts I’ve ever had in my life.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsBanana Pudding Cookies

These cookies were my first baking Everest. Inspired by the phenomenal Banana Pudding Pudgies at Evelyn’s Kitchen in East Harlem, these took me a year to perfect, but it was entirely worth it. These soft, chewy cookies are beyond delicious, and they taste *exactly* like banana pudding. Exactly.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Cookie cake is probably one of my top five favorite desserts ever. I mean, who wouldn’t love a giant, sliceable soft-centered cookie with a buttercream border? It’s the dream.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsSour Cream Waffles

These are the best waffles I’ve ever had. Period. Every time I have leftover egg whites or sour cream, these are the first things that get made. This means I have an ample freezer stash for waffle emergencies, of which there are many. Many many many.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsNeapolitan Cake

Confession: I have never worked with fondant and am actually kind of afraid of it.

Another Confession: I don’t quite get the obsession with super tall cakes with an absurd amount of buttercream and drips and all that. Just give me the cake! I don’t need all the stuff.

All that said, this Neapolitan Cake is probably as close as I’ll get to any intricate layer cakes. Checkerboard inside, heavily piped outside, and not a drop of food coloring—that strawberry pink is the real deal. This one is super fun to make, even if it is a labor of love.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsPretzel Shortbread

Last fall, I heard about Lost Bread Co.’s pretzel shortbread, and instead of being a normal person and ordering some, I made my own. That sort of stubbornness is kind of my thing, and how I got into this whole baking racket in the first place! Made with crushed up pretzels in the dough and then pretzeled themselves (much easier than it sounds), these little cookies are salty, sweet and fabulous, just like me.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsWedding Cake Trilogy {I, II & III}

There is no single recipe for this wedding cake. Instead, it was made with my go-to vanilla cake, filled with alternating mocha and caramel puddings, and frosted with creamy Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Oh yeah, and it was served to hundreds at the Central Park Boat House back when we used to go do things inside together and the idea of attending a wedding didn’t give me heart palpitations. But for real, this is one of the proudest accomplishments of my baking journey, and I was honored to have the opportunity.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsSweet Cherry Rhubarb Galette

While Cocoa Brownies were the first recipe to appear on this site, a tiny Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Galette was the first baked good to be pictured. Three years later, I still loved it and posted the recipe. Fast forward two more years and I’m looking forward to spring so I can make this simple sweet-tart galette again!
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsHot Fudge

This is a warning that if you start making your own Hot Fudge, you will be ruined for all other hot fudges forever. This stuff is dark and glossy and sooo much better than anything you’ll find in stores.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsPumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies

Making these Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies was the first instance in which I didn’t feel like a food blogging impostor. I knew what I wanted, I knew how to make it, I knew how I wanted it to look, and then I freaking did it. Five years later, I’m still over the moon for these soft pumpkin oatmeal cookies and their perfect marshmallow filling. Little Debbie who?

(If pumpkin isn’t your thing, I’ve got a regular version too.)
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsSlow-Roasted Pulled Pork

I get so overwhelmed by holiday baking every year that I’ve taken to mostly posting weeknight meals every January. I’ve never publicized it this way, but I personally refer to this time of the blogging year as “Savory January,” because by that point, I can barely stand to look at dessert. There are lots of meals in my archives (scroll to the Savory section at the bottom!), but this Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork is probably my favorite. It’s perfectly seasoned throughout, and where some slow cooker pulled porks get soggy, this version has crispy cracklings and is moist but never wet. Seriously, it’s the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. And while it takes time and preparation, it’s shockingly easy and makes enough to freeze for later. You know, for when you feel an enchilada craving coming on.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsButtermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate…gravy?! You better believe it. My grandma made this classic southern combo for my sisters and me every chance she got. Super flaky, savory biscuits and sweet chocolate gravy are a match made in breakfast heaven.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsToasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

If you had told me five years ago that I’d have a startling number of vegan, gluten-free recipes on this site, I wouldn’t have believed you. I previously saw leaving out dairy, eggs and flour as near-impossible limitations, but now I look forward to the challenge of developing these recipes…and the dessert. Especially when it’s s’mores made with these delicious Toasted Oat Graham Crackers.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsChocolate Mousse Pie {No-Bake}

This is one of the easiest pie recipes on this site, and also maybe ever…? It’s deeply chocolaty with a smooth, light texture and an Oreo crust—oh, and it’s no bake. So, like, best pie ever? You tell me.

What are your favorite E2 Bakes recipes? Tell me in the comments or on social media! I want to know what you love to bake!Friday Favorites: The Last Five Years

How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How to Make Mini Layer CakesI have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to celebrate this year. Does it feel like the world is crashing down around us and everything is at least vaguely scary? Sure. Is there still stuff to celebrate? You know it.

I mean, all of us are going to have pandemic birthdays this year. Every last dang one. Birthday parties are inadvisable, but cake? That’s non-negotiable. If we can’t have cake in times of both joy and crisis, then what on earth are we even doing here?!How to Make Mini Layer CakesIn that spirit, today’s post is not actually a recipe, but instead is all about how to make a layer cake fit for a pandemic…er, small group. Sure, you could make a single layer of cake for any occasion you have coming up, but some things require a cake that’s stacked up tall, even if it’s on the miniature side. I’ve been making Mini Layer Cakes for years, for everything from birthdays to baby showers to wedding cake practice. It’s super fun and a great way to brighten someone’s day (or your own!) in these rough times.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How Big are Mini Layer Cakes?

The cakes pictured are 4 inches in diameter and 2.5 and 2.75 inches tall, respectively.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How Many People Can Mini Layer Cakes Feed?

Well, it depends. I think of these as being 4-6 servings, but could go up to eight in a pinch. I’m sure some of you are looking at these and thinking they’d only feed two–I suppose it all depends on exactly how much cake you want to eat in one go. Use your judgment.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

What Flavors are Best for Mini Layer Cakes?

The answer here is pretty much anything your heart desires. The cakes pictured are Vanilla Cake + Nutella Buttercream and Chocolate Cake + Strawberry Buttercream; I chose these flavors based solely on what I had on hand.

The general rule for my Mini Layer Cakes is to make roughly half the recipe of any normal 9-inch layer cake. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas off the top of my head:

Funfetti cake + vanilla buttercream
red velvet cake + cream cheese frosting
carrot cake (without nuts/fruit) + cream cheese frosting
white cake + seasonal fruit or jam + whipped cream frosting
vanilla cake with a little almond extract + mocha buttercream
-vanilla cake + key lime curd + whipped cream frosting
-vanilla cake + lemon syrup + lazy lemon curd + vanilla buttercream with lemon zest
chocolate cake + Oreo Buttercream
peanut butter cake + chocolate frosting
Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}! <—Yes, it works!How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Things You Need to Make a Mini Layer Cake

-a single 9-inch layer of cake
-a half-batch of buttercream
-filling of choice, if not using buttercream
-a serving plate or cardboard round
-a ruler
a 4-inch ring cutter
-a serrated knife for trimming
-an offset icing knife

First things first, you’ve got to have the supplies. This list is pretty similar to what I use for regular layer cakes with a few exceptions. To start, you’ll need one 9-inch layer of cake and a small batch of buttercream…or roughly a half the quantity of most layer cake recipes. I understand that not all cake recipes halve easily (splitting eggs!), so I’ve included halved versions of my vanilla and chocolate cakes at the end of the post.How to Make Mini Layer CakesThe major specialty item here is a 4-inch ring for cutting small layers. Can you just bake your cake in 4-inch pans? Sure, and I have on many occasions, but they tend to produce dramatically domed cakes, and frankly, you’re never going to get as much use out of those pans as you think you will. As a person who has nearly every piece of kitchen equipment anyone could ever need, please trust me on this. It is much easier to bake a single larger layer of cake and then cut it into smaller ones.

With a 4-inch cutter, you’ll be able to get two small layers out of a single 9-inch round layer. If you measure/have a keener eye than I do, you can bake a 9-inch square layer and get four small layers out of it. That way, you can make two mini cakes at once or freeze two of the layers for another occasion. Either way, you’ll have leftover cake scraps, but I don’t see that as a problem.

Don’t have or want a 4-inch ring? Find a 4-inch circular object, trace it onto parchment, then cut out the circle and use it as a stencil.

How to Assemble a Mini Layer Cake

Mini Layer Cake assembly isn’t rocket science, but has its challenges. There is a lot of measuring and evening out of things, but rest assured that you’ll get the hang of it quickly.How to Make Mini Layer CakesStart by using your cutter to cut two small layers out of your larger layer. Make sure that the cutter is as close to the edge of the larger layer as possible, so as to make room for a complete second layer. <—This is important.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesUse your ruler to measure your layers for height. There is a good chance your layers will have an incline, as cakes tend to dome a bit as they bake. Grab your serrated knife and even out the top of one layer. Make sure it’s even (or very close) and measure it again—this how tall you want your other layer to be. Repeat that process to even out that second layer, until they’re identical in height (or very close). Mine are all about an inch tall.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesNext up, stacking. Swipe a tiny bit of buttercream on your plate or cardboard round, then place one of your layers on top. If you’re a messy froster like me, tuck bits of parchment under the cake all the way around for clean edges. Frost the top of your layer, then stack the second layer on top and press down lightly to adhere.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesFrom here, frost as normal. For me, that means a very light crumb coat (thin layer of buttercream), a 20 minute chill, then a thicker layer of buttercream, piping and decor.

Keep in mind that Mini Layer Cakes are smaller and lighter-weight than what most of us are used to, and therefore cannot take as much physical pressure as a larger cake, particularly when frosting around the sides. Be gentle with the cake and with yourself, and remember that there is no shame in having to move layers back into place and frost over flaws. Buttercream is a surprisingly forgiving medium.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesAt this point you can serve your cake. I, however, like to let mine sit for an hour or two ahead of serving, just to let everything adhere nicely. This isn’t strictly necessary, but I find it makes slicing easier and prettier. If you’re refrigerating your cake, make sure to let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How to Transport a Mini Layer Cake

If you’re making a Mini Layer Cake (or any layer cake), chances are you have to take it to a celebrant or they have to pick it up. In more normal times, I box and transport cakes all over NYC. The most important thing in this process is to make sure your cake fits the box beforehand—this is why I have a ruler in my kitchen. My cake boxes are 3-inches tall, so the cardboard round, both layers of cake and any filling and frosting need to be shorter than that when stacked.How to Make Mini Layer CakesOther important things? Keep your box as level as possible. I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping them level while walking and riding in cars and on the subway. It’s just a matter of remembering that pretty much everything (your body, a car seat, etc.) has a natural slope, and then carrying/positioning your box in a way to counterbalance that. Also, remember that cold cakes are easier to transport. When delivering cakes, I refrigerate them as soon as I’m done assembling, and then let them come back to room temp while en route to wherever I’m going.

Please know that I have shown up a few times with cakes that did not look the way they did when I left the house. This is a hazard of the job–rest assured that ugly cake is still delicious. If you make somebody a cake and they don’t like it because it’s a little disheveled, take it back. You don’t need that negativity.

And on that note, if you are inspired to make a Mini Layer Cake or two and need a place for them to go, I’m gladly accepting donations.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes
Are there any Mini Layer Cake tutorials you’d like to see? Thinking of doing one for tiered cakes (wedding cake). Let me know what you think in the comments.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Vanilla Cake {Half Recipe}
makes 1 9-inch layer or enough for 1 mini layer cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 batch Nutella Buttercream or other buttercream

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch round or square pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating completely after each addition. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk. Add remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in its pan for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edge of the pans and invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off and discard parchment.

For a Mini Layer Cake, follow instructions detailed in the post above. Fill and frost with Nutella Buttercream or other buttercream.

Chocolate Cake {Half Recipe}
makes 1 9-inch layer or enough for 1 mini layer cake

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso granules (optional, but recommended)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
1 batch Strawberry Buttercream or other buttercream

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch round or square pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso granules, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and egg, followed by vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the boiling water. Whisk in remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining boiling water.

Pour batter into the pans. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pan for fifteen minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Peel off and discard parchment.

For a Mini Layer Cake, follow instructions detailed in the post above. Fill and frost with Strawberry Buttercream or other buttercream.

How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeI had the idea for this Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake after making Double Funfetti Crumb Cake last year and have just been waiting for the right occasion to make it. Why, you may wonder, is today the right day for this cake? Because May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day!Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeGenerally speaking, I’m not a big celebrator of food holidays, but I seem to always remember Pi Day, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, and Chocolate Chip Day. While these are all silly occasions, I feel like this is *the* time for silly occasions. After all, it’s the 64th day of lockdown here in NYC—Chocolate Chip Day and especially this Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake have never been more necessary.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeI mean, look at that pillowy soft chocolate chip cake! It’s buttery, tight-crumbed, and super moist thanks to half a cup of sour cream. It’s almost enough to restore my hope for the future.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeOh, and speaking of restoring hope in things, let’s discuss the crispy chocolate chip cookie crumb topping! It’s the real star of this show. Think streusel, but instead of cinnamon there’s a bunch of brown sugar and chocolate chips in the mix—it’s actual perfection.

If you want to get fancy, you could brown the butter in the crumb topping. I’m gonna do that next time as part of that hope in the future thing.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeIf you want perfectly clean slices and have slightly more patience than I do, you can wait til the cake has cooled completely before divvying it up. I ceased having extra patience 42 days ago, so the pictured slice is a little scraggly…but as a perk, the chocolate chips are still soft. I will choose melty chocolate over aesthetics any day, anytime. But, like, especially today and right now. The future can wait while I finish my slice of cake.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeHappy Chocolate Chip Day, dear readers.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10-12 servings

Chocolate Chip Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips

Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a springform pan. Set aside.

Make the crumb topping. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form. Stir in miniature chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg, sour cream and vanilla; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the milk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining milk. Use a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) to fold in miniature chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Use your fingers to evenly distribute crumb over the top. Tap full pan a few times on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Bake cake for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. If you’d like, let the cake cool completely, invert it and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Slice and serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeChocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeChocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeI try very hard to keep things simple around here. Recipes, techniques, flavors, everything. That doesn’t mean super easy or uncomplicated—just not over-complicated. No more steps or ingredients than absolutely necessary, you know?Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeThat said, sometimes a simple recipe like this Vanilla Bean Bundt requires several tries, each with a different technique or ingredient, all resulting in…excellent cakes. Really.

You know what’s not simple? Deciding which of those cakes to post.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeEach one began with the same basic recipe that I’ve used for my Orange Cardamom Cake, Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes, and Marble Bundt, but with vanilla bean, of course. My options were:

  1. a cake with one vanilla bean in the batter, one vanilla bean in the icing, and a vanilla syrup made from the empty pods painted on.
  2. a cake with two vanilla beans in the batter and one in the icing. No syrup.
  3. a cake and icing made with vanilla bean paste instead of the real deal. No syrup.

I cannot overstate how delicious all of them were—buttery and bursting with vanilla bean flavor! And those signature specks, of course.

If I felt like I could get away with posting three Vanilla Bean Bundt recipes, I would. Faced with making a decision however, I took into account the flavor, aesthetics, ease and cost of each one, and the winner just barely emerged.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeThe cake I love the most is #1, so it’s the one I’ve posted below. The seeds of one vanilla bean are whirled into the batter, and the leftover pod is used to make a syrup that is brushed onto the baked cake before icing is poured over the top. The syrup is the element that makes all the difference here—it keeps the cake from being even the slightest bit crumbly, gives it a subtle glossiness, and makes it so that you can smell its dreamy vanilla aroma within a 6 foot radius. Yes, really!Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeI also like that the pods in the recipe don’t go to waste. I’ve seen other bakers suggest using empty vanilla pods to make vanilla sugar, but how much vanilla sugar does anyone actually use? You could use them to make extract, I suppose, but that takes weeks or months. This way at least one of the pods is used directly in the cake. As for the second, let me know what you do with leftover vanilla pods. I’m interested!Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeFor those of you wondering about the cost of this whole operation, I won’t lie to you: vanilla bean anything is pricey. I buy my vanilla beans at Costco and Sahadi’s, and they run about $6 apiece. You could use two tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (1 per pod) instead, but the paste is about $35 upfront. A single jar contains enough to make this cake four times though, so it’s worth the investment. Oh, and this is a warning that the dark color of the vanilla bean paste will affect the aesthetic outcome of the cake, but only slightly. It will still be absurdly delicious, as all vanilla bean things are.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeKeep it simple, y’all.Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt

Cake:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

Simple Syrup:
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 scraped/empty vanilla pod

Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap.

Set the cooled cake, still on the rack, over a rimmed baking sheet. Make the simple syrup. Combine water, sugar, and scraped vanilla pod in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

Use a pastry brush to paint syrup all over the cake. Continue brushing until you’ve used all the glaze. Some will run off onto the rimmed baking sheet—that is okay. Let cake sit for 30 minutes to absorb the syrup.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla seeds and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the teaspoon up to 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 2 tablespoon increments. Pour over cake. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt Cake