I hope one of you awesome bakers are on line and can answer this for me. I need to make a vanilla bean cake and am wondering if I can just add the vanilla bean to a box cake mix. I know it has to be scraped.
Yes, you can do it. To use the vanilla bean the first thing you need to do is split the bean lengthwise, using a paring knife. Then scrape the seeds free from both sides of the bean with the edge of the knife, and add to the batter. Keep the pod to make vanilla sugar. Just keep the pod in the same container that you keep the sugar.
Thank you, yummycupcake. I wasn't sure if anything needed to be done to the seeds before adding them to the mix.
Absolutely! It really enhances the flavor of the cake. If you have a hard time finding fresh vanilla beans (our grocery only sells worn-out, hard and crusty ones - bleah) you can buy vanilla bean paste from Williams-Sonoma or at any good online spice house. I like both but the paste is so easy - just scoop a little out...no scraping.
If you use the beans, take your pod after you scrape it and stick it in a container of sugar and let it sit for a couple weeks for a nice vanilla sugar.
No sure if your area has them, but both Fresh Market and Farm Fresh carry vanilla bean paste. I love using it in my cakes/frostings, and its more affordable that vanilla beans. And easier.