In a recent entry on our Prairie Chefs blog, Sarah Stegner paid tribute to the memory of Tribune food columnist Abby Mandel through sharing her special recipe for blueberry-lemon Bundt cake.
Well, Bundt cake very well might be one of me very favorite cake-things, so it's a safe bet that I'll be baking Mandel's recipe shortly. I make bundt cake with caramel, sometimes a variation with buttery brown sugar and maple, or I make one with cranberries, or with lemons, and, most often, plain, common Bundt cake but made with vanilla sugar.
Vanilla sugar is an excellent item to have on hand, as it adds
a simple yet elevated touch to recipes calling for plain sugar. And, it
is super-simple and totally un-fussy to make, which I'm all about.
My preference is to set aside vanilla bean pods after I've split
them and scraped the seeds for a recipe. I just plunk the pods into a
designated jar of sugar, and after about a week or two sealed, it's
ready for anything. Actually, I've been burying nearly-spent vanilla
bean pods for ages into the same old designated sugar jar, and
it's never failed me.
Of course, once in a while, I tap a bit of scraped vanilla seeds
into the jar to step things up a bit, but simply burying the pods
themselves in sugar is plenty to infuse the sugar and have a slightly dressed-up variation of sugar around for recipes.