Henrik turned four at the beginning of the month (I seem to be about a month behind on posts right now). Along the lines of the fire truck Halloween costume request, he also wanted a fire truck cake. He had a spider cake last year that was a molasses cake under the decoration.
His response to the, “What flavor cake would you like?” question was a clearly stated, “vanilla”. Vanilla has been a strong theme recently so I started combing through cookbooks for a vanilla cake recipe.
A few days later we were at Grand Central Bakery and there was a beautiful, uncut bundt cake staring at me from the other side of the counter. The tag told me that it was a Vanilla Velvet Cake and that was all I needed to know. I added a slice to our bread order and headed home. Henrik and I shared some for lunch and we saved a small chunk for Rob. It was velvety and had a full vanilla flavor. I asked Henrik if he wanted that cake for his birthday cake and he said, “perfect”.
I bought the Grand Central Baking Book from Powell’s over the summer and I attended the book signing at Powell’s in September. I hadn’t gotten around to baking anything out of the book yet and based on some of the audience’s comments, I was feeling tentative. There were a few comments about their really wasn’t much wiggle room in the recipes for lack of precision. After tasting the Vanilla Velvet Cake at the bakery I pulled the book down off the shelf. I found the recipe for a Glazed Vanilla Bundt Cake. It sounded just like the cake tasted. The only surprise was nutmeg. I hadn’t tasted nutmeg, but it didn’t surprise me that the nutmeg would help augment the vanilla flavor.
It was the most complicated cake recipe I had ever attempted. And, I didn’t have a bundt pan. I wasn’t really interested in buying one since I am avoiding nonstick cooking/baking items. I did have a fancy loaf pan on the “get rid of” shelf in our basement and decided to use it. The recipe made enough to fill that pan and two other stainless loaf pans. The house smelled amazing while it baked. And, since I had two cakes in addition to the birthday cake, we were able to sample it right away. What a cake! It was slightly lighter than the one from Grand Central and may have been slightly less moist, but I was thrilled with the result. I glazed the one for Henrik’s birthday and put it in the fridge for the couple days until his birthday. On the actual birthday I took the cake out of the fridge to warm to room temperature. We all loved it and we had one very happy birthday boy.