There is a story I would like to share first however. The day my husband and I decided to move to Spain, back then we both were living in Germany, I made a promise to him...a promise to show him a bit of Germany before we leave the country (remember my husband comes from Sweden). And so we did, nearly every weekend we would spend our time in a different city, driving to some famous places around Stuttgart area, enjoying the country we were about to leave. We saw so many nice and beautiful places and had a time of our lives. My husband learned to love the country, while I felt in love with this country all over again...I realize that Germany offers so much and wondered why would we always would like to go abroad for vacation, why would we always have the feeling we have to see other countries, while your very own country is so beautiful and offers you so much...
I find myself in the same situation when it comes to simple classical coffee cakes... these days the cakes should taste and look exotic, the more exotic the better. The classical butter cream frosting got replaced by the fancy "mascarpone cream cheese lime" frosting, there is fondant in all the colors you can image which will be used for all the extraordinary cake decoration and the cake itself should be done in rainbow color or ombre look, so everybody just goes in "ahhh" and "ohhh" when you cut the cake open. To me those cakes represent the foreign countries....exotic, colorful and so different. While the simple classical coffee cake represents the home country...humble, modest and so familiar.
Both options are perfect and depending on what you are looking for or how you feel at that exact moment, the one or the other will just made your day...
These days I am feeling more for the classical baking and any time I feel like this, I tend to make my favorite vanilla sugar cake. On top I got a super cute baking form for my birthday, which needed to be tried out (can be ordered Here in Spain or Here in Germany or Here in UK ). The form is smaller than the traditional gugelhupf baking form and is just perfect for our small family.
Vanilla sugar cake:
- 150 g butter softened
- 150 g sugar
- 1 fresh vanilla pod
- 2 eggs
- 150 g flour (or 100 g flour + 50 g cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease+dust your baking form. Beat the butter and sugar together till fluffy and light in color. Cut the vanilla pod open, take the seeds out and add it to the butter sugar mixture. Mixed quickly. Add the eggs, one at the time, beat till the egg and butter a well combined, then add the second one. Sift together flour, baking powder and cornstarch (if using) and add to the butter egg mixture. Mix till everything is well combined. Pour the batter into the baking form, distribute it evenly with a spatula and bake for 25-35 minutes till golden brown. Make the stick test. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes on the cooling rack. Take the cake out of the form.
This cake is done with very simple ingredients as you can see, follow the tips for a phenomenal outcome:
- all ingredients should be at the same temperature - take the eggs and butter some time in advance from the refrigerator
- use fresh eggs - fresh from the farmer if possible
- use fresh vanilla pod, instead of vanilla sugar..you will taste the difference. Do not through away the empty vanilla pod, put it in a jar with some sugar to get homemade vanilla sugar
- use full fat butter, not half fat - to get the cake taste rich and buttery
- cornstarch makes the cake more fluffy...adding some cornstarch will make your cake taste fluffy and light
I love this cake not only for the simple preparation and ingredients, but also for the diversity it offers
- Sprinkle some powdered sugar over a the cake and serve it with a big cup of cafe au lait for breakfast.
- For dessert the cake can be served with some fresh fruits or berries. Put one piece of the cake on the plate, sprinkle some powdered sugar, add some fruits or berries aside, top it with a spoon of plain yogurt.
- For the late afternoon tea, the cake can be served either plain with some powdered sugar or some melted chocolate over it or with some beaten double cream aside.
The cake is also perfect to be given away. Depending on the occasion the cake can be brought to brunch, afternoon tea or dinner invitation:
- put the cake in a nice box or on a cake plate, bring some berries or fresh fruits with you (fresh whole pine apple goes very well) and a nice dessert has been provided
- give the cake away in the baking form, along with fresh vanilla pods, recipe and nice box of tea. Goes perfect as a birthday present for a friend who loves to bake or as a give away for a friend who just moved to a new house
- for a late afternoon coffee invitation, bring the cake nicely packed along with a nice/exotic box of coffee