BAKING cakes and sweet bakes

Tahitian Vanilla Cake

November 26, 2010

Tahitian Vanilla Cake

Everyone has a go-to pound cake recipe, right? Heck, I have two pound cake recipes around here already. So why would anyone possibly want to use this recipe? Well, no reason really except for the fact that these loaves baking in your oven will make the house smell spectacular. And in this case, it’s the two plump vanilla beans that create the magic (something that copious amounts of lemongrass and orange essential oils in diffusers couldn’t.)

This cake from Dorie Greenspan’s book caught my eye because I was looking for a recipe in which my precious Tahitian Vanilla can be enjoyed in all its splendour. More so because, unlike recipes that call for vanilla extract, or at the most half a vanilla pod, this one called for four times that. It wasn’t hard to make up my mind.

I love a good pound cake just like anyone else, and when it is made with a technique that deviates from the norm, I feel an obsessive need to try out the new recipe. The new method in question involves the eggs and sugar being mixed together, followed by cream, and the butter stirred in only at the end, after the flour. It promised a soft, tight crumb, and it delivered.  However, I’m still hoping to get my hands on a recipe that will have the crust bake till it’s thicker and golden to provide that distinct bite that stands up against the soft crumb.

Since this recipe makes two loaves, I made one plain loaf and the other speckled with dark chocolate chips. Like all pound cakes, this one tastes better after a day; so once it’s cooled, wrap it up in cling film. Of course, I couldn’t wait a day so I cut up slices when warm and ate it with a little raspberry jam.

PS: For those of you mailing in for Christmas cake – here’s a recipe from my favourite food guy Nigel Slater whom I know I can blindly trust. I don’t think I’m up for making a Christmas cake given the astonishing amount of alcohol involved. Sorry!

Tahitian Vanilla Cake

Tahitian Vanilla Cake Recipe

Adapted from: Baking From My Home To Yours, Dorie Greenspan (USA | UK | India)
Yield: 2 loaves

2 2/3rd cup/ 300g flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 cups / 400g sugar
2 tbsp / 25g vanilla sugar
2 plump vanilla pods, split lengthwise with the seeds scraped out. You can use the remains for making vanilla sugar/extract.
6 eggs
2/3rd cup / 160ml heavy cream (I use Amul)
200g butter, melted

2 loaf pans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Butter and flour two loaf pans.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together.
  3. Rub the sugar, vanilla sugar and vanilla pod innards together until it’s nice and frangrant.
  4. Add the eggs to the bowl of sugar and mix until they’re thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Whisk in the cream.
  6. Now, switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the flour mixture into the bowl, until it’s evenly incorporated.
  7. Finally, fold in the melted butter and pour the batter into the baking pans.
  8. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. The cake will brown faster, especially when using dark pans, so make sure to cover the top with a foil tent.
  10. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  11. Slice up and serve!


  • Reply Radhika November 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Hey, like you even i like jam with my pound cake so what I do is to add some jam while baking the cake. Add spoonfuls of jam in between the batter just before baking. The jam turns into a wonderful jelly like texture and imaprts an awesome frutiy sweetness to the cake.

  • Reply Tweets that mention Tahitian Vanilla Cake Recipe -- November 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shaheen, Rini Basu and Sonia, Priyanka. Priyanka said: RT @PurpleFoodie: The much awaited Tahitian vanilla cake […]

  • Reply Priya November 26, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Omg, wat a beautiful looking vanilla cake..

  • Reply Sheeba November 26, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Looks loooovely…Ohhh I could eat that right now! It is -2 degrees here!!

    Made an apple cake yesterday- golden delicious- yum yum yum….

  • Reply Colleen November 26, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    What a fabulous recipe. Thank you so much for posting it so soon. Your photos are beautiful. I will definitely try this soon. Smiled at your comment above re Christmas cakes. I have just completed my 20th order for this season. just a few more to go….I have also perfected making one without alcohol. I have two of those on order but make them the week before Christmas. Hugs xx

  • Reply Alicia Souza November 26, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Have I said anything but ‘YUM’ since I’ve commented on your blog.

  • Reply Brian Baker November 26, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    In the ingredients list, you call for “2 1/2 Baking Powder.” Is that 2 1/2 tsp, or tbs, or, God forbid, cups, of Baking Powder?



  • Reply marla November 27, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    This does look like the perfect use for those special tahitian vanilla beans. Love that photo at the end of the post :)

  • Reply Kalyan November 28, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    There are few aromas as heady as the fragrance of real vanilla. Wonder if there is any chance of waking up in the morning and getting a slice of the vanilla with chocolate chips to go with me coffee. The stuff sweet dreams are made of

    • Reply The Purple Foodie November 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM

      I didn’t get a bite of chocolate chip one! Orangefoodie took the entire loaf.

  • Reply Arch November 29, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    I just got some vanilla, my brother got it from Kerala…And I hopped by here hoping to get a recipe to use it !! Perfect timing !
    I have a big list of things to try from your blog, dont know where to begin !!

  • Reply kathryn December 2, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    To get a really nice crust on your pound cake after you butter the pan coat it with sugar rather than flour… it works to build the best pound cake exterior everytime…. I thought it would stick, but it works great and looks amazing when you cut a slice.

  • Reply Ashley December 4, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    I’m such a sucker for pound cake and anything loaded with vanilla. This sounds superb!

  • Reply arjwiz testing December 22, 2010 at 12:22 PM

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    • Reply arjwiz testing 2 December 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM

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  • Reply Doug Blakely February 17, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    2 1/2 Baking Powder, is it tablespoons or teaspoons? This cake looks amazing I have some spare Tahitian Vanilla Pods to use!

  • Reply afra June 9, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    kindly give recipes of cakes using microwave or alternately how can one use microwave in the above recipes.thanks in advance

  • Reply Brian L. Baker June 10, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Thank you for fixing the recipe to reflect whether you called for tablespoons or teaspoons, of baking powder. A note in the comments would have been nice though. I only realized it had been fixed when I got an email notifying me that someone else had commented. Now, I can try rgis delicious looking creation.

    • Reply The Purple Foodie June 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Sorry, Brian! I should I notified you in the comments. Happy baking. Shaheen

      • Reply Brian L. Baker June 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        No worries. I know how hard it is to stay on top of these things.

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