INGREDIENTS FOR THE VANILLA BEAN CAKE
1 ½ cups plus 2 Tbsp (8.12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1 ¾ sticks plus 1 Tbsp (7.5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS FOR THE VANILLA BEAN CAKE
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan with nonstick baking spray or butter and line with a parchment circle.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle
attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, corn
syrup, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
4. Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, vanilla paste, and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour the mixture into the creamed butter and beat until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle and mix for 30 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape the bowl again and mix for 15 seconds.
5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the cake and bake for an additional 15 to 17 minutes until the cake appears firm and has a matte finish; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Run an offset spatula or a small knife around the sides of the cake pan, then invert the cake onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Serve dolloped with the whipped cream if desired.
Storing: The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.
DIRECTIONS TO BAKE THE VANILLA BEAN CAKE
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat the bottoms and sides of three 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pans with nonstick baking spray or butter and line with parchment paper. Smooth the parchment, making sure there are no air bubbles.
2. Divide the batter among the prepared baking pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the pans and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the cake appears firm and has a matte finish and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans on cooling racks, then refrigerate, in the pans, for 30 minutes.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE TEMPERED MILK OR WHITE CHOCOLATE
12 ounces 34% to 40% milk or 31% white chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces 34% to 40% milk or 31% white chocolate chips or fèves
DIRECTIONS FOR THE TEMPERED MILK OR WHITE CHOCLATE
1. Melt the finely chopped chocolate, then continue heating it until the chocolate reaches 112°F on an instant-read thermometer.
2. Add the seed chocolate a few pieces at a time, stirring the chocolate constantly with a small silicone spatula. Be sure each addition melts completely before you add more. The chocolate will be in temper when it reaches 86° to 88°F; check the temperature frequently. To test for temper, dip a small offset spatula in the chocolate and put the spatula on your work surface. If the chocolate sets within 2 to 3 minutes and looks shiny and smooth, it is in temper. If the chocolate looks streaky or spotted or doesn’t set, it is not in temper. Continue stirring and then test the chocolate again—sometimes the components need a little extra agitation before they can unify.
3. Once the chocolate is tempered, work efficiently; the temper will hold for about 20 minutes.
For 1 ½ pounds tempered chocolate: Use 18 ounces milk or white chocolate, finely chopped, and 6 ounces milk or white chocolate chips or fèves.
For 2 pounds tempered chocolate: Use 1 ½ pounds milk or white chocolate, finely chopped, and 8 ounces milk or white chocolate chips or fèves.