There are many reasons why I love to bake, but eating what I bake isn’t at the top of my list. Don’t misunderstand me, I love baked goods and I think homemade ones are the best. But sharing what I bake rates higher for me, as does the act of baking itself. There’s something calming about the methodical nature of baking and something satisfying about the progression of a baking project. And though tasting is the final step in this progression, it’s the aroma of something delicious in the oven that’s really the sensory payoff for me.
This is especially true of this week’s Baking Chez Moi assignment. From the moment I started scraping the pulp from the vanilla pod, my home smelled wonderful. After the butter browned, the aroma was heady. By the time the loaf came out of the oven, it was intoxicating. I felt it was very unfair that I’d read Dorie’s comment that the loaf improves after a day’s rest, because I really wanted to slice into that cake immediately. Actually, I wanted to set it in front of me on my desk. Who needs a bouquet when you can have the scent of this loaf perfuming your space, instead?
Well, wait I did and the cake rewarded me with a tender, sponge-like crumb and a gentle crispness at the edges. There is no need to spread butter on this loaf cake – browned butter is present in every bite. It would be good used as shortcake might be, covered in macerated berries and cream. Stale, it might be perfect in a parfait. Right now, though, I like it just as it is, eaten out of hand. I’m looking forward to trying it toasted in a day or two, as well. Then, I might break out just a little more butter.
You can find the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew’s entries on this recipe here: Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake.