18 Sep Mexican Vanilla Cake Part 1
Before the Mexican border broke out into an all out drug war and became unsafe for gringas like me, it was a popular past time in TX to take off to border towns for a little weekend shopping. As a kid, I remember going with my mom to buy Mexican crafts, pewter, blankets, etc. Of course, I was more interested in whatever exotic sweets I could get my hands on, like these. One thing we never left without was a bottle of Mexican vanilla. The stuff is like crack. It takes baked goods to a whole new level.
Disclaimer: Before I continue raving about the amazingness of Mexican vanilla, I feel obliged to make you aware of certain “dangers” associated with the consumption of synthetic Mexican vanilla. Some manufacturers cut corners by adding a substance called Coumarin to their vanilla, which has been known to cause liver damage in lab animals. I don’t use the stuff enough to really worry about it, but if you’re the type to care, make sure your Mexican vanilla is pure.
And now on with the show.
So why is Mexican vanilla superior to those other guys (Tahitian, pfff)? According to the experts, Mexican vanilla beans have a smoothness and depth of flavor that is unmatched by vanilla beans from other regions. The flavor also has a hint of spice, which makes MV the perfect pairing for the cinnamon in this recipe.
You may be wondering why this recipe is called Part 1.
I have big plans for this cake.This cake is not going to be an ordinary layered round cake, oh no! Eventually, this cake is going to be mashed up, mixed with MV cream cheese icing, and transformed into the prettiest cake balls you ever did see.
But first, we bake.
This recipe is simply a classic vanilla cake recipe with a few tweaks. Feel free to use your favorite vanilla cake recipe substituting Mexican vanilla for traditional and adding the cinnamon.
Here’s my version:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
3 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp Mexican Vanilla (like I said, I really like this stuff)
2 tsp ground cinnamon (plus an extra shake for good luck)
Step 1a: Pour yourself a glass of wine – because it’s just more fun that way. Tonight I’m going with a nice Cambria Pinot Noir (courtesy of my parents’ wine cooler, thanks Mom & Dad ;))
Step 1b: Preheat the oven to 350F & grease a 13x7in pan
(I used a 13X7 since the cake is going to be mashed up in the end. If you do not plan following through to the cake ball phase, I recommend using 2 8in round cake pans.)
Step 2: Cream the butter until light and soft. Add sugar slowly; mix until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Step 3: In separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon & salt.
Step 4: Alternately add dry mix and milk to the butter sugar mix, until blended.
Step 5: Pour into your greased pan of choice; bake for 30 minutes. Cake will be done when light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Your end result should look something like this.
I know, it’s not much to look at now, but just wait! If you decide to opt-out of the cake ball part, you can find my recipe for MV Cream Cheese Icing here (link to come soon). Cake balls to come soon!