Seriously. It really is. I found the recipe in Ina Garten’s newest cookbook “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof”. It’s super easy and super good. It doesn’t last in my home more than a few days. My husband even toasts it for breakfast! Here’s the recipe so you can try it too.
- Baking spray with flour, such as Baker’s Joy
- 1/4 cup demerara or turbinado sugar (I used turbinado since that’s what I had on hand)
- 3 cups sifted cake flour (sifted flour is measured by spooning it lightly into the measuring cup)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tsp grated orange zest (2 oranges)
- 1 cup heavy cream
DO NOT preheat the oven. Place a rack in the oven so the cake will sit in the center. Generously spray a 12 cup tube pan (not one with a removable bottom) or 2 loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches) with the baking spray to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the demerara/turbinado sugar, tilting the pan or pans to make an even coating of the sugar over the bottom and sides. Set aside.
Combine the sifted cake flour and salt and pass the mixture through a sieve or a sifter from one bowl into another THREE times. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and orange zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in thirds alternately with the cream, beginning and ending with flour and scraping down the sides of the bowl to combine – don’t worry if it looks a little curdled. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes. The batter should be very light and fluffy.
Now, here’s a side note about the vanilla seeds – Once you scrape the seeds into the mixture, SAVE the vanilla bean skin! Insert the skin into a container of sugar and Voila! – you will have vanilla flavored sugar.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans, smooth the top and place in the cold oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, carefully remove the cake to a baking rack, rounded side up and allow to cool completely. Serve with fresh berries or a dollop of creme fraiche. YUM!