Triple Vanilla Pound Cake

Triple Vanilla Pound Cake ~ not one, not two, but three layers of intense vanilla flavor to excite even the most serious vanilla fans.

When it comes to flavor, vanilla beats chocolate any day of the week.  Chocolate has its charms, but in terms of pure aromatic complexity, ‘plain’ vanilla is hands down the champ.

Vanilla contains a mind boggling array of flavor compounds, and like coffee or fine wine, vanilla will vary depending on where it comes from (it might be Tahiti, Madagascar, or Mexico.)  Vanilla beans are actually the dried pods of an orchid, which makes sense since it’s such an aromatic flavor.  If you’re wondering why you have to pay so much for that lonely bean in the jar, it’s because those orchids are rare, only bloom once a year, and have to be pollinated by hand.  From bean to bottle it takes over a year and a half…you can read about it here if you’re interested.

But back to cake ~ I’ve infused this pound cake from the inside out with three distinct layers of vanilla.  The first is vanilla sugar:

  • Vanilla sugar is sugar that’s stored with a vanilla bean (or two) and becomes infused throughout with the flavor.  It’s easy to do, check out the notes below the recipe.  I love the whole idea of infused sugars ~ I’ve had such success with lemon sugar in my LEMON SUGAR SHORTBREAD, and LEMON SUGAR CRUMB CAKE.  In that case I literally blitzed the sugar together with lemon peel and the result is pure heaven.  But this vanilla sugar is even easier, and the flavor payoff is equally great.

The next layers ~

  • I flavor the batter with vanilla bean paste, which is a thick vanilla product that also contains ground beans, so you get an intense flavor AND those wonderful specks without having to deal with expensive whole beans.  It can sometimes be hard to find in regular supermarkets, but you can always buy it online, here.  The brand I like is Nielsen-Massey.
  • And finally, a thick vanilla bean glaze.

One bite and all your vanilla sense memories come flooding back…

The cake has lots of vanilla presence all by itself, but for me the best part is the vanilla bean glaze on top.  I try to get as much on there as possible because I want to get some in every bite.

TIP:  There’s an art to getting a glaze to stick onto a cake.  First, don’t rush it, you need to let the cake cool.  I like to err on the thick side with my glazes.  It should be JUST pourable, but still have substance.  I lay a thick layer across the top of the cake and then nudge it gently with a spreader.  I want it to lazily fall off the edges, not flow like a waterfall!

This cake has the perfect crumb!

Triple Vanilla Pound Cake

Triple Vanilla Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (see instructions for making your own in the notes, below)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups vanilla sugar (directions in the notes below)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla paste (substitute 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
    glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • milk, half and half, or cream to thin

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 325F
  2. Lightly spray a standard 9x5 loaf pan and line it with a sheet of parchment paper or foil so you can easily lift the cake out for glazing.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Blend in the buttermilk. Then slowly add the flour. Make sure everything is well mixed. Do the last bit by hand.
  6. Turn the batter into the loaf pan and spread out evenly. Bake on the middle rack for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Cool on a rack.
  7. Make the glaze by whisking the sugar and vanilla together with enough milk or cream to create a thick spreadable glaze. Beat it until there are no lumps. You can add more liquid to thin it down, or more sifted sugar to thicken it up.
  8. When the cake is almost completely cool, spread a thick layer of glaze over the top and let it drip down the sides. The idea is to have the glaze thick enough that it doesn't completely slide off the cake. If that happens, gather it up and re-glaze the cake.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/triple-vanilla-pound-cake-recipe/

Notes:

  • Vanilla sugar is sugar that has been infused with vanilla.  To make it, simply put some sugar in a container that has a lid, I use a large wide mouthed mason jar, and add a vanilla bean that has been split down the middle.  (You an also re-use vanilla beans from past recipes)  Give the container a good shake and store in the cupboard.  Give the jar another shake before measuring out your sugar.  You can keep a container of vanilla sugar going indefinitely, every time you use the sugar, add more to the jar, and add used vanilla beans from time to time.
  • Make your own cake flour ~ for every 1 cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  Sift to mix the two really well.  Cake flour results in a lighter texture and more tender crumb.
  • I recommend using a sturdy metal loaf pan instead of glass or ceramic.  I like the way my USA pan bakes evenly and releases easily.  There’s nothing worse than an over-cooked pound cake, unless it’s one that won’t come out of the pan.

 

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Triple Vanilla Pound Cake ~ not one, not two, but three layers of intense vanilla flavor to satisfy even the most serious vanilla fans. | coffee cake | breakfast | dessert | brunch | white cake | vanilla beans |

37 Comments

  • Reply
    Patty
    October 30, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Sue,
    Every recipe of yours that I’ve made always results in rave reviews. You’ve definitely made me a better cook. I do have a couple of questions for you. I ordered the loaf pan and vanilla paste that you recommended. Is the vanilla paste supposed to be runny or more like an actual paste? The paste I received is rather runny. The loaf pan instructions say to not use cooking spray, should I just spray the parchment? I also bought what was described as “pumpkin purée” for your pumpkin cupcakes. When the pumpkin arrived it says organic pumpkin, nowhere on the label does it say “purée”, is there a difference? Sorry to bombard you with so many questions. Keep the great recipes coming!
    Many thanks,
    Patty

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 30, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Patty! The vanilla past is runny, so yours is perfect. And I usually just spray the pan to keep the parchment paper in place, if that makes sense, so feel free to skip that step. If you find your paper slides around too much you can use a dab of butter to adhere it to the pan. No need to spray the paper, though. As for the pumpkin, you’ve got the right stuff. The important thing is that you get plain pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling, which has all sorts of other stuff in it. Thanks for your support ~ and keep those questions coming!!

      • Reply
        Patty
        October 30, 2017 at 11:41 pm

        Thanks for answering so timely. I made the cake this afternoon and it turned out perfectly. My husband and neighbors are happy taste testers for Thanksgiving brunch. Next up is the pumpkin cupcakes with candied pecans.
        Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Donna Blocksom
    August 14, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    The View from great island:
    Triple Vanilla Poundcake
    So excited to make this for my sons birthday this week. He loves vanilla on vanilla.
    I have a question…. can you use a bundt pan instead of a loaf pan ???

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 15, 2017 at 5:06 am

      I don’t think there is enough batter for a bundt pan, Donna, you might need to double the recipe.

  • Reply
    Sue
    July 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    No, because the vanilla paste is moist and it won’t work. I would just skip the infusing, and use the paste in the batter, it will still be delicious!

  • Reply
    Ashlynn Lindsay
    July 9, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Can I infuse the sugar with vanilla bean paste instead? I don’t have the vanilla beans

  • Reply
    Pjr
    June 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I’m not sure I have ever seen vanilla bean paste, can you get it in the grocerystore and where would it be located?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      It can be hard to find, but if your store has it, it will be right next to the vanilla extract. I’ve included a link to buy it through Amazon on the post, and I recommend getting a couple of bottles, you’ll probably fall in love with it ;) You can find it on Amazon here.
      I use the Nielsen-Massey brand.

  • Reply
    Allison - Celebrating Sweets
    April 10, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    This looks unbelievable! And that vanilla bean glaze is stunning! Great photos.

  • Reply
    The Hungry Mum
    April 9, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I am in love! I adore vanilla cakes so having three times the vanilla has me drooling!

  • Reply
    sippitysup
    April 8, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    I also have become a fan a very vanilla-y vanilla paste. I regularly use it now because it keeps longer than the bean. GREG

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 9, 2017 at 8:30 am

      And it’s so much cheaper!

  • Reply
    grace
    April 7, 2017 at 9:01 am

    you definitely don’t need that glaze…but i sure am glad it’s there. :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      Haha, you bet!

  • Reply
    annie@ciaochowbambina
    April 7, 2017 at 6:19 am

    I don’t even know where to start with this! Triple vanilla? With all those gorgeous seeds! Do you deliver?

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 6, 2017 at 7:18 am

    I love those beautiful flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting! Good vanilla makes all the difference. Wish I could eat cake every day ;)

  • Reply
    Kelly
    April 5, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Normally I’d be all about a lemon pound cake, but this looks so enticing, I thin I will have to try it out! Beautiful crumb, and that glaze is outrageous. Yum!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2017 at 10:10 am

      I switch back and forth between lemon and vanilla in my pound cake cravings, Kelly :) You’ll see a lemon one here one of these days, no doubt.

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    April 5, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Vanilla definitely is an aromatic giant! I usually opt for chocolate over vanilla, but whenever I eat something that’s vanilla-infused I wonder why. Its flavor (and fragrance) is more complex, and really more interesting. It seems simple, but it’s not. Anyway, lovely recipe — thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2017 at 11:38 am

      You know why I think we pass up vanilla John, it’s because most of it out there is the fake stuff. When you encounter the real thing, it’s mind blowing!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    You had me at triple vanilla – this pound cake looks like heaven! :)

  • Reply
    Dawn Harriman
    April 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Sue, I’ve never infused sugar with anything so I’m wondering how long do I let it sit on a shelf before the sugar tastes like vanilla or whatever. And, in your recipe, I see you have vanilla paste and then write, vanilla bean paste. Is there a difference? Thanks! I am sooo looking forward to trying this recipe! Dawn

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      You can literally use it right away, as long as you’ve mixed or shaken it really well, Dawn, I should have made that clear. The longer it sits the more it will take on the flavor, so it just gets better and better. And yes, vanilla paste and vanilla bean paste are the same. Hope you enjoy this!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    April 4, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    The triple vanilla cake looks sinfully delicious! Thank you for this and for all the gorgeous recipes! Your site is my newest addiction!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 4, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks Brenda, I’m so happy to have you here!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      I love that you use the word ‘sinful’ for vanilla ~ I must have done my job!

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    April 4, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Triple vanilla?? Yes please! That icing looks to die for and I love all your helpful tips. This is a must make for me girl!

  • Reply
    Emily @ Recipes to Nourish
    April 4, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Swoon!!! This cake is gorgeous and sounds amazing! I can’t get over how pretty that vanilla bean glaze is on the top. Yum!

  • Reply
    Luci's Morsels
    April 4, 2017 at 8:00 am

    This looks absolutely delicious and beautiful! That glaze; yum! I am going to have to make this ASAP but I am really wishing I already had it on hand. Thanks for sharing! Luci’s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    April 4, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Oh yes! Pound cake! One of my favorites and yours looks like a keeper!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Three Olives Branch
    April 4, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I am a huge fan of pound cakes, and this looks amazing! I am swooning over that glaze, yum!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 4, 2017 at 7:22 am

      glaze = BEST part :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 4, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Lovely! Vanilla is so classic and love that you’ve loaded this one up with it :)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    April 4, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Wow – this is one gorgeous loaf of pound cake! I always keep vanilla sugar on hand and wish I had it available all the time. You can’t beat all this vanilla flavor and your cake has a gorgeous texture. Perfect!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    April 4, 2017 at 3:07 am

    Real vanilla makes all the difference. Your pound cake has such a fine tender crumb that I really love. Thanks for sharing, Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 4, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Angie, for me it’s ALL about the crumb…and the glaze ;)

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