The antithesis of last month's multi-component, technique-driven Gingerbread Bûche de Noël, the Brown-Butter Vanilla-Bean Weekend Cake, so named because it will last all weekend without compromise to either texture or flavour, was this week's selection for the TWD group baking from the book Baking Chez Moi.
Requiring not much more than two bowls, a whisk and a few minutes of time, it was a simple cake made with basic pantry ingredients. Between the heady aroma of the browned butter and the fragrance of the vanilla bean sugar wafting up from the
bowl, I knew I was making something good. The gorgeous scent of the baking cake didn't change that impression.
And it did taste good. As recommended, I let it sit overnight to let the flavours develop. Like a good vanilla pound cake, it had a pleasant vanilla flavour (and a nice crunch from the seeds) but I can't say I detected the nuttiness of the browned butter. It had a fine, tight crumb, and though it wasn't at all dry, it was a very sturdy cake. Much
as I enjoyed the flavour and the ease of making it, I prefer a softer,
more tender texture so I don't think I'll revisit this recipe.
As an aside, a most peculiar thing happened during baking. Out of
habit, I lined my loaf pan with parchment and the cake rose very
strangely, with the batter on the sides rising first and rather dramatically, then collapsing
onto the cake....I've never seen that. It was nicely browned and evenly baked so I wasn't too concerned in the end but I did wonder about it. Any thoughts?