Help! Suggestions On Enhancing Vanilla Cakes

Baking By cakesnob0127 Updated 20 Aug 2014 , 2:24pm by pucina

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:02am
post #1 of 26

Hi!  I am new(ish) to CC and have a question on how to make my scratch vanilla cake more vanilla-y.  No matter how much (pure) vanilla extract I put in there, it doesn't taste vanilla-y enough.It's a great yellow cake, but definitely not the taste I am looking for.  I am ok if my cake isn't pure white, as long as I can get a cake that tastes similar to vanilla ice cream :)

 

I am wondering if anyone has added this to their scratch cake to enhance the vanilla flavor:

 

1. white chocolate

2- vanilla paste (if so, how much)

2- All Natural Bryers melted vanilla ice cream

3- vanilla pudding 

4- various alcohol

 

I know this vanilla cake topic has been beaten to death, but I am so determined to get the vanilla to shine through.  

 

Thank you for any help or suggestions!!!

25 replies
MBalaska Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:14am
post #2 of 26

I purchase double vanilla extract.  There are also people on CC who make their own vanilla extract.  Now that's dedication to flavorful baking!!

FrostedMoon Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:15am
post #3 of 26

What kind of vanilla extract do you use?  I've found the quality can make a big difference.  I also use double strength vanilla and don't decrease the amounts.  

MBalaska Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:20am
post #4 of 26

http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysdoublestrengthvanilla.html

 

I've been using Penzeys double strength. and use either the normal recipe amount

or splash in some extra.:sssh:

Spooky_789 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 4:07am
post #5 of 26

You can make vanilla sugar by adding your scraped vanilla bean pods to your canister of sugar.  The flavor of the vanilla will penetrate the sugar, and that will help flavor your cake.

 

You can also steep vanilla bean pods in your liquid that you use in the cake, then remove the pod, let the liquid cool, then add as normal.

 

Making your own vanilla extract, whether with alcohol or without, is quite easy and lots cheaper than store bought vanilla extract.  http://mycakebytori.blogspot.com/2013/07/homemade-vanilla-extract.html

-K8memphis Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 11:35am
post #6 of 26

Afor an ice cream flavor i'd go straight for the vanilla bean paste -- it says how much to use on the bottle -- however in my bag of tricks, vanilla is on my list under the heading 'if a little is good a lot is better' :)

FrostedMoon Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 1:48pm
post #7 of 26

Too funny MBalaska, I was writing as you posted and my question was to the OP.  I use Penzey's as well.  Sometimes I will add another brand of vanilla also because I do feel they taste different and it adds to the complexity of the flavor.  

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:20pm
post #8 of 26

I use McCormick's "gourmet selection" organic pure madagascar vanilla extract.  But, learning REAL quick from you all's kind suggestions that top name brands and/or making your own vanilla is a MUST in a vanilla cake :-D

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:23pm
post #9 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spooky_789 
 

You can make vanilla sugar by adding your scraped vanilla bean pods to your canister of sugar.  The flavor of the vanilla will penetrate the sugar, and that will help flavor your cake.

 

You can also steep vanilla bean pods in your liquid that you use in the cake, then remove the pod, let the liquid cool, then add as normal.

 

Making your own vanilla extract, whether with alcohol or without, is quite easy and lots cheaper than store bought vanilla extract.  http://mycakebytori.blogspot.com/2013/07/homemade-vanilla-extract.html


LOVE the idea of steeping vanilla bean pods into my liquid!  I will also try making vanilla sugar...AWESOME idea!  Thank you Spooky_789!  Intimidated with the thought of making my own vanilla extract, :o but I will def look into it...thank you for the link and suggestions!!!

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:26pm
post #10 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrostedMoon 
 

Too funny MBalaska, I was writing as you posted and my question was to the OP.  I use Penzey's as well.  Sometimes I will add another brand of vanilla also because I do feel they taste different and it adds to the complexity of the flavor.  


I will also look into buying Penzey's (I will have a vanilla collection in my cabinets soon enough lol). Thank you...I knew you guys would have awesome suggestions ;-D

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:29pm
post #11 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

for an ice cream flavor i'd go straight for the vanilla bean paste -- it says how much to use on the bottle -- however in my bag of tricks, vanilla is on my list under the heading 'if a little is good a lot is better' icon_smile.gif


I have a really difficult time finding vanilla bean paste anywhere!  But I recently discovered a small cake shop supply store in my town that I am excited to scope out! I am sure they have this "golden" stuff.  Thank you for your reply!  I'll keep you all posted and try out your ideas and suggestions!

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:34pm
post #12 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysdoublestrengthvanilla.html

 

I've been using Penzeys double strength. and use either the normal recipe amount

or splash in some extra.:sssh:

Thank you, MBalaska! A splash or two extra can't hurt, right???  ;)  I've heard of Penzeys before, but never seen it at grocery stores.  Is this brand only available online?

FrostedMoon Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 2:50pm
post #13 of 26

You won't find it at a grocery store.  They have their own stores around the country, but if you don't have one near you it can be ordered through them online.  Shipping is free if you hit a certain minimum amount.  Check out their website.  I use a lot of their spices in general and love them!!

-K8memphis Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 3:05pm
post #14 of 26

Avanilla sugar is the best to sprinkle onto cookies and muffins too before baking with a few added salt crystals or cinnamon etc. -- also onto fudge -- y'know those no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies -- mm hmm no problem :)

and if you go about making your own vanilla -- i bought my vanilla beans online a lovely fun gorgeous quantity -- a little of each, some Tahitian some madigascar and another, Mexican maybe -- i made Christmas presents of pretty decanters of vanilla and vanilla sugar for my kids --- it helped to justify the costs involved as well as making a cool gift too -- they are both foodies -- so a passing thought for you --

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 4:23pm
post #15 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

vanilla sugar is the best to sprinkle onto cookies and muffins too before baking with a few added salt crystals or cinnamon etc. -- also onto fudge -- y'know those no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies -- mm hmm no problem icon_smile.gif

and if you go about making your own vanilla -- i bought my vanilla beans online a lovely fun gorgeous quantity -- a little of each, some Tahitian some madigascar and another, Mexican maybe -- i made Christmas presents of pretty decanters of vanilla and vanilla sugar for my kids --- it helped to justify the costs involved as well as making a cool gift too -- they are both foodies -- so a passing thought for you --


Sounds like vanilla sugar will be my new bff :-D  Can't wait to try it on my various desserts!  I bet your family and friends love your gifts, K8Memphis!  Great idea! If I am daring enough to make my own vanilla, I would love to give as gifts! 

-K8memphis Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 4:31pm
post #16 of 26

Athank you, cs -- there's a fabulous thread on vanilla making on the forums of egullet dot com if you want to go looking for it-- it's real easy though -- i'm sure instructions abound on the internet --

best to you

MBalaska Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 6:47pm
post #17 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrostedMoon 
 

You won't find it at a grocery store.  They have their own stores around the country, but if you don't have one near you it can be ordered through them online.  Shipping is free if you hit a certain minimum amount.  Check out their website.  I use a lot of their spices in general and love them!!

 

Me too!!  I've been mail ordering stuff for decades (to my outpost in Alaska) from the Penzey's catalog.  I do a large order every so often and restock my whole spice cabinet. Fresh spice yummy.

 

When we were in Seattle for vacation this month I was surprised to find a store just a half block away from the Pikes Place Market.  I stood on the sidewalk looking in the window like a hobo.:cry:

 

Dear Hubby asks do I want to go in and shop.  "NO" absolutely not!  I'd buy out the whole shop, and I wouldn't be able to carry on a 16 oz. bottle of brown liquid (vanilla double extract) on the plane going home in my purse.  I wouldn't be able to put it in my suitcase as my suitcase gets broken and stuff damaged or stolen on every flight in/out of Alaska.

 

My preference is the Tahitian or Madagascar over the earthiness of the Mexican.

cakesnob0127 Posted 18 Aug 2014 , 7:10pm
post #18 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

thank you, cs -- there's a fabulous thread on vanilla making on the forums of egullet dot com if you want to go looking for it-- it's real easy though -- i'm sure instructions abound on the internet --

best to you


awesome! I will definitely check egullet out! love all these ideas---you all have helped so much! 

Vanisaffron Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 12:27am
post #19 of 26

Hi, why don't you use the whole bean.  Put 1 or 2 beans depending in the size of the cake. In your vita mix add beans with some liquid (milk etc) for a few minutes until "warm"  and let it "cool" mix into flower you will get even more flavor when you bake it.    The vita mix will pulverize the bean and you will add "fiber".  If you do not want the specks and vanilla pod just filter it out with a paper coffee filter. If you let it cool in the fridge overnight you will get even more flavor.

Vanilla, Saffron Imports.

Rfisher Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 12:48pm
post #20 of 26

AAlong with the previous suggestions: VBP along with extract. Too much extract gets bitter, to me. Alongside that, may I suggest you experiment with the following. One of these might surprise you, on making your vanilla cake your new favorite. more yolks vs whites and vice versa. Bleached/ unbleached flour Subbing a tbsp of brown sugar for white tiny bit of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger..like 1/8 tsp Tiny bit of citrus oil tsp of whiskey, bourbon, advocaat, frangelico, amaretto... Water vs milk vs buttermilk..... Taste, of course, is subjective. Getting your recipe to maximize the vanilla-ness (to you) is what I am suggesting on the flour/ wet /egg alterations. Even butter vs shortening will change the taste of the vanilla. The undertones of the spice/alcohol/citrus suggestions are not to make the cake taste like those, but to enhance the vanilla and that may be what you are looking for in the finished product.

-K8memphis Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 1:03pm
post #21 of 26

Ayes and when you try the buttermilk get full fat real buttermilk -- I can't always find it in my local grocery store but when I need it it's worth the drive -- there's something in it that makes your emulsion uber smooth and secure

cakesnob0127 Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 4:06pm
post #22 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vanisaffron 
 

Hi, why don't you use the whole bean.  Put 1 or 2 beans depending in the size of the cake. In your vita mix add beans with some liquid (milk etc) for a few minutes until "warm"  and let it "cool" mix into flower you will get even more flavor when you bake it.    The vita mix will pulverize the bean and you will add "fiber".  If you do not want the specks and vanilla pod just filter it out with a paper coffee filter. If you let it cool in the fridge overnight you will get even more flavor.

Vanilla, Saffron Imports.


Hi Vanisaffron,

Wonderful suggestion!  I do not have a vitamix, but I do have a pretty amazing ninja thingymabob that works great!  I think it will pulverize the beans just fine---excellent idea...and I love those tiny vanilla specks!  I am saving everyone's ideas/suggestions/links and can't wait to try them all!  You guys are so creative with this little thing called vanilla...yet it's given me such a headache. lol

cakesnob0127 Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 4:11pm
post #23 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rfisher 

Along with the previous suggestions: VBP along with extract. Too much extract gets bitter, to me.
Alongside that, may I suggest you experiment with the following. One of these might surprise you, on making your vanilla cake your new favorite.
more yolks vs whites and vice versa.
Bleached/ unbleached flour
Subbing a tbsp of brown sugar for white
tiny bit of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger..like 1/8 tsp
Tiny bit of citrus oil
tsp of whiskey, bourbon, advocaat, frangelico, amaretto...
Water vs milk vs buttermilk.....
Taste, of course, is subjective. Getting your recipe to maximize the vanilla-ness (to you) is what I am suggesting
on the flour/ wet /egg alterations. Even butter vs shortening will change the taste of the vanilla. The undertones of the spice/alcohol/citrus suggestions are not to make the cake taste like those, but to enhance the vanilla and that may be what you are looking for in the finished product.


I need to get some vbp for sure!  Love the idea of mixing in some whiskey or alcohol to enhance the vanilla flavor!  Vanilla doesn't have anything but a little milk, butter (or oil), flour, and eggs, so yes, I believe all these things you mention will def help!  I prefer cakes made with oil than butter, but that's just me. Thank you much for your response and suggestions!!! ;-D

cakesnob0127 Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 4:21pm
post #24 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

yes and when you try the buttermilk get full fat real buttermilk -- I can't always find it in my local grocery store but when I need it it's worth the drive -- there's something in it that makes your emulsion uber smooth and secure


I can never find full fat buttermilk in any of my grocery stores...what's up with that :roll:

-K8memphis Posted 19 Aug 2014 , 6:05pm
post #25 of 26

Aaround the holidays it's available for sure and I can usually find it in the more affluent neighborhoods, probably whole foods & fresh market --

and of course asking your grocery store manager for things helps too --

pucina Posted 20 Aug 2014 , 2:24pm
post #26 of 26

AI use pure vanilla beans only because i don't use anything with alcohol in any of my recipes and although it can be a bit pricey it is very worth it. To get a reasonable price on vanilla beans i turn to my local restaurant supply store. I would never pay the crazy cost of 10$ for 2-3 beans at the grocery store.

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