I'm feeling better. I'm not sure if it was the crystal blue cloudless skies, laughing with friends, or the knowledge that we've hit the homestretch. Just a month now until we go home.
Or, maybe it's the butter. Butter that has been browned until it smells all nutty and makes your nearly grown children come into the kitchen to wonder what in the world you are making.
That was some butter I tell you. I splurged and bought some French butter. It was serious butter, not butter you would buy everyday, unless of course you lived in France and could buy it everyday. This was luxury butter. It must have taken some very happy cows to make butter that good. After browning it I slipped in a split vanilla bean while I waited for it to cool. That was pretty genius on my part. The warm butter infused with the vanilla. Sigh. It smelled great.
I used the browned butter to make my favorite type of cake, a simple bundt cake, but one with a little cha cha from the browned butter and vanilla beans. I served the cake with the first of the season raspberries and some sweetened and whipped creme fraiche.
Feeling even better now.
Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
Adapted from Miss in the Kitchen
1 cup unsalted butter, browned, and cooled until set (see cooks note)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 vanilla bean split and scraped
4 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups icing sugar
1 vanilla bean split and scraped
Preheat the oven to 350, grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the scraped vanilla bean, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Blend on low speed until combined.
To the flour mixture add the browned butter, sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, and eggs. Beat on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes or until fluffy.
Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake springs bake when touched and a testet inserted comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely.
For the glaze, in a bowl mix together the icing sugar and enough milk to make the glaze the consistency you like. Add the scraped vanilla bean and mix well. Pour over cooled cake.
*How to Brown Butter.
Heat a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Slice 1 cup of butter into tablespoon sized pieces and add them to the pan. Stir the butter frequently until melted.
You will notice that once the butter has melted it will begin to foam. Soon the foam will subside and lightly browned bits will begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Watch the butter carefully as it can quickly turn from nutty brown to acrid black in the blink of an eye.
Once the butter begins to smell nutty and the milk solids have browned on the bottom of the pan remove the pan from the heat and pour into a heat resistant container to cool.
*At this stage I slipped a split vanilla bean into the brown butter to infuse it, you don't need to do this but the house smelled fantastic!
*I made the brown butter the evening before I made the cake so that it could cool completely and set up. I left it at covered at room temperature as my kitchen is fairly cool, but you can certainly put it in the refrigerator, allow the butter to come to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.