This week’s obsession: Vanilla
I know some of you are wrinkling your nose and thinking, “ugh, could you have picked a more boring flavor?” But seriously, vanilla is where it’s at. REAL vanilla, that is. Not that imitation crap that some people buy and then claim that they hate vanilla... No. You have to go for the pure extracts, pastes, and beans. Oh vanilla beans, how I #love you! Not only do they lend so much flavor, but just the sight of the seeds makes pastries and frostings and ice creams (oh my!) better from an aesthetics standpoint because you know it’s got the good stuff in it.
If you’re still doubting me at this point, try one of your recipes WITHOUT vanilla. You’ll notice how much of a lack of flavor there is if you omit it. (Ok, maybe don’t actually do that because baking is time consuming, and can be expensive and you don’t want to waste your time or ingredients for something that you know won’t taste good.) So now that you know how important this little “bland and boring” ingredient is, maybe you’ll start showing it some respect when the blog author chooses it as her topic for the week... Or not. You do you.
Tip of the Week: Since vanilla extract is partially composed of a form of alcohol, it will burn off quickly in your recipes. Try adding vanilla extract later in your cooking process or after you’ve removed it from heat (i.e. pastry cream, ganache, etc.) to allow a stronger vanilla flavor to come through on your palate.
Vanilla has been on my mind because of this little beauty right here:
This is a tiny two tier vanilla cake with vanilla frosting that most people would say is boring, but now that we know the facts, we can all stop to appreciate the delicate flavors of the interior coupled with the powerful visual impact of the colors from the sprinkles.
This cake is actually for two colleagues of mine who are celebrating their birthdays together. Happy birthday, ladies!