I’ve never been a vanilla type of girl. To me, the overall flavor can be too bland, too blah…”too vanilla” in comparison to other existing flavors.
For example, when considering different ice cream flavors to choose from, vanilla has never been in my radar, unless it’s served over warm apple cobbler or next to a slice of strawberry and peach pie. In my opinion, its qualities shine best when supporting and accompanying other desserts, but not by playing a protagonist role.
I mean, why would I ever choose vanilla when there are so many other exciting and interesting flavors in the dessert spectrum? I would choose salted caramel, chocolate mint, or hazelnut over vanilla any day….without any hesitation.
And when having to choose between cake flavors…let’s say, German chocolate cake or vanilla cake for example, the answer is obvious. German chocolate cake (DUH!). How about vanilla cake or carrot cake? The answer is evident once more…carrot!
This theory of vanilla desserts ranking low in my “must have” dessert list has proven to be true for many years…but then came this Vanilla Cake with Black Tea Caramel Sauce. It has a rich and pure vanilla taste that only the best quality vanilla could create. The black tea caramel establishes a hint of sweetness and bitterness that pairs really nicely with the strong vanilla flavor. This cake, along with the nice vanilla extract that I used in it, makes me become a vanilla believer.
And by the way, I’m completely hooked on Lágrima, one of the tastiest vanilla extracts I have ever tasted and the vanilla extract that is used in this specific recipe. I used tablespoons of it for this cake, since its smooth feel and neutral flavor is beyond pleasant. I even used the vanilla bean that’s inside the bottle to boost the vanilla flavor even more. To learn more about this beautiful product and to enhance your vanilla experience, be sure to check out the Lágrima web site.
So I believe that I have a new appreciation and view on this whole vanilla ordeal. Vanilla desserts can be wonderful and powerful in deed. What was that?…You still have a few doubts? Well, I guess it’s safe to say that this Vanilla Cake with Black Tea Caramel Sauce will restore all your faith and trust.
- Vanilla Cake:
- 8 oz (1 cup or 2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 8 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
- 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, cut down the middle and seeds scraped off
- 8 oz (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Black Tea Caramel Sauce:
- 5 oz (3/4 cup) heavy cream
- 3 black tea bags, decaffeinated
- 1 vanilla bean (optional, use left over vanilla bean that was used for making vanilla cake)
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
- 1 oz (2 tablespoons water)
- 1 ½ oz (3 tablespoons) butter
- Vanilla Cake:
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a Bundt pan with vegetable spray or butter.
- 2. Place butter along with granulated sugar and light brown sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Beat with a paddle attachment at medium speed until butter and sugar mixture becomes very fluffy and pale, about 3-4 minutes. Turn mixer off and scrape sides of bowl with a spatula so that all butter and sugar are well combined.
- 3. Turn mixer to medium speed and add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, until they are incorporated into the batter.
- 4. Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract. Turn mixer off and scrape sides of bowl with a spatula once more so that butter and eggs are well incorporated. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low.
- 5. Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients into mixing bowl and mix just until flour is well incorporated.
- 6. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick that has been inserted in the center of comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Invert cake onto rack to cool completely.
- 7. Place a large piece of parchment paper or a sheet tray underneath the cooling rack. Pour black tea caramel sauce over Bundt cake. (Please see Black Tea Caramel Sauce recipe below).
- Black Tea Caramel Sauce:
- 1. Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Remove from heat and infuse cream with black tea bags and vanilla bean for about 45 minutes. Cover pot with lid during infusion time. (Note: using a vanilla bean is optional, but if you decide to use it, you can use the leftover vanilla bean that was used for making the vanilla cake recipe).
- 2. Once infusion time is over, remove vanilla bean and tea bags from heavy cream, being sure to squeeze the tea bags over the saucepan so that the absorbed cream is added back into the saucepan. Cream should have a darker brown color after doing this. Cut the tea bags open with kitchen shears. Add all of the loose black tea from the tea bags into the heavy cream. Stir to combine and set aside for later use. Discard vanilla bean and empty tea bags.
- 3. Meanwhile, combine water and sugar in small saucepan.
- 4. Cook water and sugar over medium heat until sugar reaches a uniform dark amber color.
- 5. Pour in the black tea and vanilla-infused heavy cream to pot while whisking continuously. Remove saucepan from heat.
- 6. Add butter to caramel. Whisk to combine.
- 7. Pour caramel sauce into a small bowl or container and allow it to cool down before serving.
Black tea caramel can be reheated gently so that it becomes more pourable. Simply warm it up in the microwave or in a small pot for a few seconds, just until it becomes a bit more lose.
This recipe uses decaf black tea. However, you may choose caffeinated black tea if that’s your preference