The subtle perfume of vanilla is so often paired with other flavors and so rarely given the spotlight. In this tender pound cake, vanilla bean seeds fleck the cake for a simple dessert that’s good any time of day. For a more elaborate dessert, top it with our Sabayon recipe or toast it up and serve it with coffee sauce. See also How to Make Lemon Curd for a zesty twist.
- Yields: 1 (9-inch) loaf
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 15 mins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with butter and flour, tapping out the excess flour; set aside.
- Combine the measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
- Place the measured butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla seeds and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. (Stop the mixer periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl.) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing each until just incorporated. (Do not overmix or your cake will be tough.) Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter, invert the cake to remove it from the pan, and let it cool completely before serving.