Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Good Excuse For Cake

 James' friend Alex U (and his wife) has started making homemade vanilla extracts and sugars. We were the lucky recipients. These beautiful little bottles are a perfect excuse to start baking.
Though it's probably not the best test of new vanilla, I decided on a version of pastry chef and sweet blogger (and cook book author) supreme David Leibovitz's persimmon cake. We have plenty of frozen pulp that I put away from our trees this year. I have cream cheese for the frosting. I have a bag of currants from another recipe I could use up. Beside Lebovitz's recipe is flavored with not just vanilla but bourbon. A wining combo. A combo I think our friends at Vanilla Nouveau also like.
When most cooks say bourbon vanilla they are referring to beans from the island of Madacascar known for a pure clean vanilla taste. VN has produced what all we bakers (especially ones like me with a fondness for Southern style desserts) have been wishing for, a bourbon vanilla infused with actual bourbon. You certainly get a whiff of whisky when you open the bottle and that infusion added a layer of tasty intrigue to my cake -- especially to the uncooked cream cheese frosting where the vanilla really shown through, tempering the tang with a rich mellow undertone of sophisticated flavor.
Next up I am planning a rich vanilla custard, perhaps a creme brulee. A dish where the vanilla flavor will have less competition from other flavors and really have to step out as the star of the dish.
Thanks so much Vanilla Nouveau for your flavored vanilla and for another excuse to bake. Sweet!

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