I am terrified by the concept of a black hole. Massive collapsing stars with such a strong gravitational pull they are swallowing up surrounding stars out there in the galaxy. It makes me feel like such a little helpless speck on this Earth…. On the other hand, my now 10-year-old son loves thinking about the concept of a black hole- completely fascinating (but still scary!) for him. 🙂 He has such an interest in astronomy and things greater than we are here on our little planet.
I am also frightened to have four 9-year-old boys sleepover at my house! Well, I recently had to conquer these fears in order to celebrate my son’s birthday. All he wished for was a black hole birthday cake and a sleepover party. We all survived! (The cake was tasty- not scary- and we had fun!) 🙂
This vanilla bean bundt cake recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, via Sweetapolita. The original recipe calls for lemon extract in the cake batter as well as a vanilla bean glaze over the top of the cake. I omitted the lemon extract because of my son’s preference for a pure vanilla cake. (Personally, I think it would have been tastier to include it!) After a bit of a struggle about how to create a black hole out of a vanilla cake, I replaced the vanilla glaze with a dark chocolate ganache in order to make the black hole “black“! The ganache was delicious, but I included the recipe for the vanilla bean glaze below because it sounds like a lovely alternative. The dark chocolate ganache recipe was adapted from Food and Wine. I melted the chocolate over a double boiler until it was completely smooth before drizzling. OR…Forget the glazes- this cake would be just as delicious simply dusted with confectioners’ sugar. I love how a simple dusting lets the beautiful shape of the cake steal the show.
I can’t believe my son is TEN!!! 😦 (For the second year in a row, he requested that his Birthday “Number Cookies” be Roman Numerals!)
For the Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake:
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks)(255 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1-3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vanilla bean paste
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pure lemon extract, optional but recommended
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Vanilla Bean Glaze:
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 tablespoon 915 ml) vanilla bean paste
- 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) whole milk
- about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
- 3 oz dark bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped/shaved (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
- 1/2 T corn syrup
- 1/2 T unsalted butter
- pinch of coarse salt
- 5 T heavy cream
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (convection) with rack in middle. Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
- Weigh and then whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat together butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla beans with tip of a paring knife and add into butter mixture, reserving pods for another use, and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon extract (if using) until well combined. At low-speed add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Pour batter into pan, smoothing and spreading evenly. Gently tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake until the tip of a knife or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes on convection, or up to one hour in a standard oven. Cool in pan 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour more.
- Once the cake has cooled, drizzle glaze (vanilla bean glaze OR chocolate ganache glaze OR confectioners’ sugar) over top.
For the Vanilla Bean Glaze:
- Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into whole milk. Let sit in a spouted container, such as a large pyrex measuring cup, for about an hour.
- Add confectioners’ sugar gradually, whisking, until you get desired consistency–about 1 cup.
You want to make sure that it’s not too runny, or it won’t dry white on the cake, and will run off too quickly. It should take a few seconds to whisk it, and it will feel too thick at first–keep whisking until you get desired thickness. If too thick, add a teaspoon or so of the vanilla milk.
For the Ganache Glaze:
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the salt, corn syrup, and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. (At this point, I had to gently continue heating the mixture over a double boiler while constantly mixing until smooth.)
- Briefly let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable.
- Drizzle the ganache over the cooled cake. Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes, before serving.
One Year Ago:
Two Years Ago: