A Kilo Plus Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rosé Glaze

I came back from France up a solid kilo, newly equip with a little more padding around my middle region and a liver that just wouldn’t quit.  Nice and all, but I felt in need of a detox. 

When I throw around a term like “detox” what I really mean is that I try to avoid drinking for a solid six days, try to eat more plants, and try not to sneak cookies at lunch.  Some of you may know this as “moderation.”  I lasted until Thursday. 

By Friday I was making a cake that contained three sticks of butter, lavishly glazed in rosé syrup.  Shoes don’t stretch.  Men don’t change.  And I don’t detox very well.  You can take these things as fact, friends. At least for as long as there are women who love dessert and pink-hued wine and who can talk themselves into buying ill-fitting shoes and the words of men they attract.

But I’m veering off course here. I need to keep this short and sweet because I have lunges to do. The inspiration for this cake came from Provence and from a recent recipe by Jess of Sweet Amandine.  She makes the cake without the syrup here, inspired by Hi-Rise.

While touring a winery in Provence, I came across some crisp, buttery cookies made with vanilla and a little rosé, biscuits vanillé aromatise au vin rosé de Provence if we are being fancy.  I wanted an excuse to use my new loaf pans.  I also wanted an excuse to bake this pound cake Jess spoke of and open a bottle of wine I lugged back from Provence.  You know where I’m going with this.

The biscuits I bought were delicate, barely sweet with just a faint hint of rosé.  There is nothing delicate about this cake.  It’s pound cake. 

It calls for eight eggs.  It uses four cups of sugar.  There is no moderate use of butter.  No moderate use of its sticky wine glaze.  And certainly no moderate use of vanilla beans, either.

It’s everything a real pound cake should be.  It’s dense, like a glazed donut in loaf form.  Cut in thick slabs and served with tart berries it’s pure summer.  And it’s delicious with a glass of rose, also pure summer.

So I’m off to lunge, stretch, and then take my middle section for a jog.  And afterwards, well, we’re probably going to eat some wine cake.

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rosé Glaze 
Adapted from Sweet Amandine (and a few other places)


For the cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1½ cups butter, room temperature (plus extra for buttering your pans)
2½ cups vanilla sugar (see note)
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out (save the pod)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
8 large eggs, room temperature 
sprinkling of fleur de sel (optional)

For the glaze

1½ cups sugar
1 cup rosé wine
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (plus the pod from above)
splash of orange blossom water
pinch of kosher salt 


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter two-9 inch cake pans (or alternatively, loaf pans; I used 3 of varying size).  If using loaf pans, fit parchment paper inside your buttered pan, letting the sides of the paper hang out; butter the paper too.  

Sift the flour and baking powder together into a medium bowl.  Add in the salt; set aside.

Cream the butter and vanilla sugar until light white and fluffy in a stand mixer.  Add the vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, and then add the eggs one by one with the mixer on low speed.  Increase the speed and beat until well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, a little bit at a time, until just combined. Scrap down the batter from the sides of the bowl and fold the batter a few times to make sure everything is well mixed; do not over mix.  Divide the batter between your cake pans (or among your loaf pans).  Bake 30 minutes and then rotate the pans and bake for another 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of your pans.  (The loaf pans took a total of 65 minutes.)  The cakes are done when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

While the cakes are baking, make the syrup.  Combine the 1½ cups sugar with the rosé wine; add the vanilla bean seeds, split vanilla bean pod, plus the additional reserved pod.  Heat on medium, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.  Add in the orange blossom water and pinch of salt.

When the cakes are finished let them cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes (or until the pans are cool enough to touch).  Gently remove the cake from the pans (if you are using the loaf pans with parchment paper this will be very, very easy; just loosen the ends and tug at the parchment paper sides.  (Then remove the parchment paper.)

Brush the syrup over the top and sides of the cake.  You’ll want to do this a few times, about every 10 minutes or so.  (I ended up having about ¼ cup of syrup left.)  Sprinkle the top of the cake with a little fleur de sel, if desired. Let the cake fully cool and then serve, cover, or freeze.

Makes two-nine inch cakes or 3-4 small loafs

-To make vanilla sugar just stick a few pods of vanilla, after you’ve used the seeds for something else, into a jar of sugar and let it hang for at least a few days.

- This recipe is a great use of leftover rosé, as it only requires one cup (a moderate amount).  This amount also dictates that one cannot drink an entire bottle.  (Unless, of course, there is another bottle.)

-This is a sweet cake.  Serve it with some fresh berries or a perky sorbet.


  1. Haha! The French sure have a way of inspiring excess, don't they? Your time there sounded amazing, as does vanilla pound cake AVEC rose glaze. :)

  2. I'll chose this over detox anytime!

    PS - And never buy ill-fitting shoes, girlfriend! :)

  3. Oh dear. I feel partially responsible for derailing your detox! This cake is worth the extra lunges though, if you ask me.

  4. lunges, ick! everything will balance out soon, but in the meantime, what a glorious, extra special pound cake!

  5. Fun and Fearless: Yes! Rose! It's summer, after all. :)
    Linda: Oh, I blame the French for all my excess problems. At least my recent ones. ;)
    Bianca: I hear ya, I hear ya. Shoes should feel good!
    Jess: Thank you, thank you! Gorgeous recipe! (Worth the lunges.)
    Grace: I'm with you: lunges are icky ... and this cake is ... sticky.
    Lorraine: It is a great little cake!

  6. Just stumbled into your blog... nice!
    What size are your loaf pans?
    I've been looking for cocktail bread sized loaf pans without luck.
    Don't see loaf pans it on the link to the shop in Paris.
    The cake sounds perfect.

  7. Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by! The pans are 10 x 3 and 7.5 x 3 inches. I got them from E.Dehillerin. I'm not certain that they are available online, but here is the website. http://www.e-dehillerin.fr/en/index.php

  8. I found your blog thats to Saveur's Sites We Love feature. Thank you Saveur! I am am enchanted beyond measurable proportion! Your writing is beautiful and really makes me want to try everything on here.
    Thanks so much for this wonderful place.
    Already a die-hard fan!

  9. Thank you for your kind words, Sharmila. I am thrilled to be included on Saveur's list! Looking forward to having you come along!