tuesdays with dorie: brown butter and vanilla bean weekend cake


I adore vanilla beans— wrinkly, unassuming pods opening to reveal moist, fragrant MAGIC. I buy vanilla beans in a three-pack glass tube at Penzeys spices, a Wisconsin-based company known for their progressive politics and their delicious herb and spice blends. They stock an impressive array of baking spices and extracts, too (and you can shop online if you don’t live near a store). I was running low on vanilla beans after a recent experiment making homemade vanilla almond milk, so G and I traveled to our nearest Penzeys on Saturday to stock up.

Dorie’s simple cake is a perfect treat on these grey winter afternoons and evenings in the Great Lakes region. I’ve sampled slices with cups of tea and mugs of cafe au lait, and I prefer the tea pairing. A well-steeped early grey is the perfect accompaniment to these satisfying cake.

What I most loved about baking this cake: listening to the cheerful bubbling of the butter as it boiled and browned. Happy noises yielded a gorgeously nutty and fragrant butter.

I added a splash of amaretto, per Dorie’s suggestion, and while I can’t quite taste the distinctive flavor in the finished cake, I do sense a greater depth of flavor.

We have half a loaf left, just enough to last us through the rest of the work week.

Happy January, friends!


check out my fellow baking bloggers at Tuesdays With Dorie.


11 responses

  1. Penzey’s is one of my guilty pleasures – especially their cinnamon! I am glad their store is an hour away – just close enough to be dangerous 🙂
    Your cake looks delicious.


  2. We are lucky enough to have a Penzey’s here in Indianapolis and I’m forever running there for this that and the other. A wonderful place. Your cake looks very pretty, I like the shape and the crumb photo a lot. I used rum and we could definitely taste that…very nice subtle flavor but it was there.


  3. I did not add any rum or amaretto to this but I definitely will next time. Your cake
    looks delicious, and I, too, love the browned butter. A little daunting to prepare,
    but if you are careful, it’s wonderful.


  4. what a great looking cake– perfect for tea time! and can you believe they closed the nice Penzey’s stall we had here in New York City in Grand Central. Boo…but I can still visit one when we drive out to the Jersey burbs, I guess.


  5. I’m with you on the Earl Grey tea – perfect with this loaf! I’ve heard so many good things about Penzey’s from my American friends. We don’t have an exact equivalent in Canada (that I’ve found), but there are lots of individual stores that stock great ingredients, herbs, and spices.



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