Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

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I guess I am on this kick where I add fresh fruit to cakes? It’s my new binge watching TV shows all in one sitting. Well, who are we kidding? Now I’ll just be binge watching with a plate of cake. Which sounds heavenly by the way. Last week I didn’t post for a few reasons, mainly exhaustion. My work schedule changed a bit, so I have new days off. AKA, my cooking days. This week I want to make it up to you with multiple posts — ALL sweets. So, I know I’ll be back on your good side dear reader. Still no farmer’s market, womp womp. Instead I went to Whole Foods to look for rhubarb. I went home with arm fulls. I also went home with a burrito, but that’s besides the point.

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I had rhubarb in my possession so naturally I ended up with strawberries too. I was looking forward to a day of baking with summer flavors. I looked out the window and saw nothing but rain clouds. A downpour ensued. Mother nature couldn’t take summer out of my kitchen at least. I wanted to use the rhubarb for something different from a pie (which I will be making for dinner with a friend later in the week). I love compotes, spreads, and jams. I love the idea that you can top something delicious with something more delicious.

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I came about a pound cake because I wanted something sturdy to withhold a heaping spoonful of juicy compote. Something it would seep into but not make mushy. More improtantly I had vanilla beans. I needed to use said vanilla beans, so I would stop inhaling a few sniffs out of their container every night before bed, like a crazy person. Something you should know about me is that the aroma of vanilla makes me swoon. If I could inhabit the container in which the beans are kept I would jump at the chance. A very ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ moment that I’m willing to go for.

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A vanilla bean pound cake was in order. The pound cake recipe I adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum. A traditional pound cake is a pound of each flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Rose has a non traditional approach, a lighter one. Producing a gentler crumb but the same effect. When the cake was doing its thing in the oven, I worked on the glorious compote on the stove. Bubbling sweet syrup encased tart rhubarb transforming it before my eyes. Only one more thing could help, the berries.

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This cake was my breakfast yesterday. Topped with whipped cream. I encourage you to do the same. Live on the edge! I think only one more week until I can expect a farmer’s market near my town. You guys will be the first to hear. Probably because you’ll be able to hear my shrieks of joy from all over the country.

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Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum

makes one 9×5 loaf

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
  • 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and move rack in center of the oven. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Butter the parchment as well.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor add the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds. Zap a few times on high until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, with paddle attachment (or electric), add the dry ingredients (flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder, salt) and mix on the lowest speed for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and only half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moist. Increase the mixer’s speed to medium and beat for a full minute to develop cake’s structure. Gradually add the rest of the egg mixture, in 2 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate egg properly.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until it’s golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove cake from the oven. After about 10 minutes, remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on wire rack.
  7. Cover and store for several days at room temperature. A week in the refrigerator.

Note: If you see the cake browning too much as it bakes, cover it with a lightly buttered piece of aluminum foil after about 30 minutes.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 used vanilla bean pod
  • 2 tablespoons navel orange juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3-inch sticks, about 1/2 inch wide
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the water, sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and honey over medium.
  2. When the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is simmering, add the rhubarb and let it cook in the syrup for about 5 minutes (depending on the rhubarb). Once at desired softness, add the strawberries. Cook for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Take off heat. When cool, remove the vanilla pod.
  3. Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla bean pound cake, or atop ice-cold vanilla ice cream.

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