You gotta have those back pocket recipes- the ones that come together easily, can find a home throughout every season, and never disappoint. This vanilla butter loaf is an easy peasy cake that can serve as a nest for all of your favorite seasonal fruits and easily doubles as dessert and breakfast. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious, so let me tell you all about it.
One of my favorite things about this vanilla butter loaf is that it’s pretty much dessert disguised as a breakfast bread. You know those loaf cakes that are served at coffee shops? This is that kind of thing. It has major pound cake vibes, but its loaf shape and the swirl of spice through the center of the cake totally establishes it as a breakfast food, if you ask me. The whole thing is glazed with a simple powdered sugar icing that envelopes the cake in lemon scented sweetness and protects it from drying out.
Another plus of this vanilla butter loaf is that it can easily be topped with whatever fresh fruits you have on hand. Here, I opted for figs and toasted almonds, but berries, baked apples or pears, Concord grapes, or stone fruit would taste delicious. Choose whatever is in season and most beautiful for best results or feel free to opt out entirely. The cake is delicious on its own.
I’m sharing today’s recipe with my friends at Kerrygold. This vanilla butter loaf has a distinct richness and melt-in-your-mouth flavor that can only be attributed to quality butter. You already know that I count on Kerrygold for all of my most flavorful baked treats, and this loaf is no exception. Be sure to choose a butter you trust for this cake and you won’t be disappointed.
I’ll be popping in next week with not one but TWO recipes for you all to nosh on, so stay tuned. You won’t want to miss them. Many thanks to Kerrygold for sponsoring this post. I hope you all get to baking this week and enjoy this vanilla butter loaf!
If you like this vanilla butter loaf you should try:
This vanilla butter loaf is similar to a pound cake and features a vanilla glaze and fresh fruit and nuts on top!
Total Time:1 hour
Yield:1 loaf 1x
For the cake:
¾ cup (170gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 gm) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1–1/2 cups (200 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (60 gm) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the filling:
¼ cup (50 gm) brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
For the topping:
1 cup (115 gm) powdered sugar
1–1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1–1/2 cups sliced fruit- I used figs
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease and flour an 8”x4” loaf pan. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light a fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on low to combine. Add the extract and zest. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add half of the flour, the baking powder, and the salt. Stir on low until almost combined and then add the buttermilk. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir the remaining flour in on low speed. To not overmix. Set aside.
In a small bowl, prepare the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the filling on top. Dollop the remaining batter on top of the brown sugar mixture and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool.
When cooled, whisk together the topping. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until you achieve your desired consistency. Add extra powdered sugar to thicken the glaze and extra lemon juice to thin it out. You can test the consistency on the side of a glass. Pour on top of the cake and garnish with fruit (I prefer figs or strawberries) and almonds. Serve immediately.
I was just sitting down to write this post when I got a text from my daughter’s schoolteacher. “Aimee slapped another child in the face.” WHAT?! My Aimee girl? The child who soothes her brother when he barely scrapes a knee? The girl who tells her friends to be more kind when they tease her for no reason? It couldn’t be.
As a parent, there’s a lot of things you can’t control and sometimes kids just pick up actions and language out of the blue. We like to pretend that we can discipline or encourage or bribe them into submission, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes your kid is going to do or say something that shocks the heck out of you. Sometimes your kid is the savage that slaps someone cold in the face.
Kids get away with things that would never fly in adulthood. When you’re a grown up you can’t just slap someone in the face and go back to sitting at their lunch table. There’s no coming back to class when you’ve pooped your pants or got caught talking to a stuffed animal. And while crying in public works okay for toddlers, people will seriously start to worry if you incorporate that into your daily routine as a 30 year old woman.
At 3 and almost 2, my kids are at the ages where they are making developmental leaps and bounds everyday. I see so much kindness and love in their little lives, but there are still those weekly (okay, daily) moments where I think, “Now where on earth did we go wrong here?” It’s in those moments that I say a little prayer and throw my hands up in the air because you just can’t prevent all the mini come-aparts that come with tiny children. Sometimes your kid is going to be the one who throws golf balls at cars or pours a cup of milk on the couch for no reason. You might have the kid laid out on the floor at Target because they didn’t get that new pair of Paw Patrol sneakers. We can’t prevent every slap to the face, hair pull, or temper tantrum because they’re kids. They’re really cute but they act like animals sometimes, okay?
So to the child who just got a face-full of my daughter’s palm, I’m so sorry. I promise we’re trying to get it right. And to the parents out there who have to strap it on to train up their children in the way they should go: hang in there. You’re not alone.
This buttermilk bread is for the children in your life. It makes the absolute best morning toast and PB&J sandwiches. It’s mild, fluffy, and the perfect vehicle for all of your favorite sandwich toppings. Buttermilk bread is simple and crowd-pleasing, the type of thing every parent needs.
To make your own buttermilk bread, we start with yeast. Dissolve some active dry yeast in warm water and then add room temperature buttermilk, melted butter, and honey. When combined, stir in some salt and all-purpose flour until a shaggy dough comes together. You can use your hands or the dough hook on an electric stand mixer to knead this buttermilk bread, but just do so until a smooth, slightly tacky ball of dough is formed. Allow the dough to rise in a warm spot in your kitchen until doubled in size.
Once round and fluffy, dump the buttermilk bread dough out onto floured surface and form it into one giant loaf. This video from King Arthur Flour is seriously helpful if you’re new to the loaf-making game. Place the loaf into a large, greased bread pan and allow it to rise a second time, just until the dough has risen an inch out of the pan. Bake it in a preheated oven until golden brown, hollow-sounding when tapped, and about 190 degrees internal temperature.
Homemade goods like this buttermilk bread are a simple pleasure your whole family will enjoy. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Happy Tuesday, friends!
If you like this buttermilk bread, you should check out:
This buttermilk bread is a mild and tangy white yeast bread made with all-purpose flour. This bread is fluffy vehicle for sandwiches, breakfast toast, and more!
1/4 cup (60 gm) lukewarm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1–1/4 cup (300 gm) buttermilk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3–3/4 cup (490 gm) all-purpose flour
1–1/2 teaspoons salt
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water and allow to sit until dissolved, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir the buttermilk, honey, and butter. Once the yeast has dissolved, add the buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and stir to incorporate. Add the remaining flour and knead the dough, either by hand or using the dough hook of the stand mixer set to medium speed, for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky. If after a few minutes the dough is still sticking substantially to the sides of the bowl, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Spray a large bowl with baking grease and place the dough inside, covering tightly with a sheet of plastic wrap to rise in a warm spot of your kitchen until doubled in size, about 1-1-1/2 hours.
Once doubled in size, form your dough into a loaf and place in a greased 9″x5″ loaf pan and cover again with plastic wrap to rise until dough puffs about an inch over the top of the pan, about 40 minutes.
While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough has risen, bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden, sounds hollow when tapped on the top, and reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then place on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
See link in blog post text regarding forming a loaf from dough.
If I could, I would box each and every one of you a loaf of this brown sugar pound cake. I’d fashion it with parchment paper and a curl of ribbon, along with a handwritten note of sorts. We’d nibble on a slice over a cup of coffee, and it’d be in that space that we’d share stories, the joys and the horrors, of our week. This brown sugar pound cake is the kind of treat that’s meant for gifting and inspires sharing, like a buttery little love note to send to the people who count.
I’ve recently spent a fair amount of time thinking about why I love this craft so much. In a matter of years, baking and cooking has melted into the nooks and crannies of my life, pouring edges to the mold of who I am, of who I want to be. It’s less of a hobby or a means of nourishment, but instead, a process that nourishes me in intangible ways and quenches my thirst to create and to share. Baking is the trade that allows me to love the people around me- a box of cookies for a friend, a birthday cake for my child, a spoon of chocolate for my husband. The time spent by the stove and around the table is an act of service, a show of affection, and anyone willing can choose to partake.
To be fair, baking may not be your thing. You may be a painter or a scientist. You may be the kind that builds kites or plants gardens or strums melodies on vintage guitars. Words or numbers or colors may mean more to you than flour and sugar, but whatever your gifting is, I really think you should use it. Let me be the one, maybe even the first, to encourage you to share freely and abundantly the things that give you joy. And if you haven’t found your “thing” yet, I can assure you that there is room in the kitchen. There is space to create, to fail, and to try again, to love others through the making and breaking of bread. If you’re willing to sift and stir and knead for the benefit of others, I can promise you that baking is an art you can do. Let this recipe for brown sugar pound cake be the one you tiptoe into the shallows with.
This brown sugar pound cake is dense and moist, filled with ribbons of cooked berries and sprinkled with a buttery crumb topping. The recipe yields two loaves of cake, perfect for sharing with a neighbor or teacher or friend. The process of preparing this brown sugar pound cake is straight forward but includes a few different steps, so let’s talk about the how.
To prepare the cake, we start by making a blueberry filling. We could just toss in a handful of berries and call it a day, but by pre-cooking the berries into a thick syrup, we are able to swirl the filling into the loaves for a sliver of tang in each slice. Simply toss mashed berries with some sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch, and cook on the stovetop until thick and bubbly.
While the filling cools in the fridge, we start on the topping. This is a brown butter crumb topping, similar to what we tossed on our raspberry rhubarb crumb cake. Brown butter, with the addition of sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon, makes for a flavorful topping, a warm and salty welcome to an otherwise sweet cake. Check out my tutorial on browning butter for some help on that topic.
The topping and filling for this brown sugar pound cake can be made a day or two in advance or just before whipping up the pound cake. On the day of baking, prepare your cake batter. We start by creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk with the usual suspect dry ingredients. The batter is divided between two loaf pans and is swirled with the cooled berry filling. Top each cake with a generous amount of crumble, and feel free to save a handful for nibbling while the cakes bake! You’ll know the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back slightly at the touch.
Allow the cakes to cool completely before packaging for sharing. I have a few ideas for packing loaves here that you can check out, if you please. I also love buying pretty disposable pans so that you can gift the loaves right in their baking container. Whatever you choose, just be sure to save a slice for gifting to someone else. Let others have a taste of the stuff that you’re made of. Happy Sunday and have a great week!
If you like this brown sugar pound cake with blueberries and brown butter crumble, be sure to check out:
This recipe for brown sugar pound cake with blueberries and brown butter crumb topping makes two loaf cakes, dense, moist, and incredibly flavorful, the perfect treat for sharing.
Total Time:1 hour 30 minutes
For the filling:
1–1/2 cups (220 gm) blueberries, mashed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the crumble:
6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (130 gm) all-purpose flour
For the cake:
1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 gm) packed brown sugar
½ cup (100 gm) sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1–1/2 cups (200 gm) all-purpose flour
1–1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup (180 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
To prepare the filling:
Combine all the ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Stir, mashing more if desired, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Once the mixture has thickened slightly, remove from heat to a separate container and place in the fridge to cool while you prepare the rest of the cake elements. This can be made ahead, covered, and stored in the fridge for up to one week.
To prepare the crumble:
Add the diced butter to a small saucepan or skillet set over medium heat. Stir with a whisk or swirl the pan occasionally to ensure the butter is melting evenly. Once melted, the butter will sizzle, foam, and eventually start forming little golden bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring regularly until the butter has taken on an amber color and nutty aroma. Take care not to burn the butter. Remove the pan from heat and pour the brown butter into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the butter. Fold in the flour until the mixture has crumbled. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the cake. Alternatively, this can be made and stored in an air-tight container up to one week in advance.
To prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two (8-1/2” x 4-1/2” x 2-3/4”) loaf pans with cooking spray. You can also line the pan with two strips of parchment paper for easy removal, if desired.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the room temperature butter on medium speed with a paddle attachment until the butter is lightened in color and smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sugars. Cream for an additional 2 minutes.
Add each egg, one at a time, stirring well on medium speed after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, stirring to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and stir on low just until combined. Add the buttermilk and stir on low to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir on low, folding with a spatula to finish combining.
Scoop one cup of batter into the bottom of each prepared pan and spread it out. Drizzle two tablespoons of the blueberry filling evenly over top of each battered pan. Repeat this process with the layering of batter and filling once more and then divide the remaining cake batter among the two pans. You will not use all the blueberry filling. Drag a butter knife through the pans, back and forth several times, to swirl in the blueberry filling. Top each pan with 1/2 of the crumble.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool briefly before eating, or cool completely to remove the entire cake from the pan.
If your blueberries are not sweet and ripe, you can add an additional tablespoon of sugar to sweeten them lightly. You want the filling to be fresh and not overly sweet.
You will not use all the filling for these cakes. You can save the leftovers and freeze for future cakes, or you can use it as a topping for ice cream or pancakes!
If you don’t care about having a blueberry swirl, feel free to fold in 1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter before baking. Just forget the filling and fold in berries! Easy!
If you need help browning butter for your crumble, check out the link in my above post or search “brown butter” on my blog homepage. There is a tutorial!
If you add more than the specified amount of blueberry filling, your cake can become gummy and dense. It still tastes delicious, but it won’t look as advertised in the photos.
There’s things they don’t tell you. No, I’m not referencing the government or our mothers or even this flaxseed bread, although we’ll get to that later. I’m talking about having a baby.
When preparing for a new baby, we like to spend a lot of time dwelling on the details. Nursery colors, eating schedules, carseat safety ratings- the usual. We worry about the baby’s growth, the baby’s movements, passing our blood sugar tests, and whether or not we’ve gained the right amount of weight. When you sign up for parenthood (because that’s where babies come from, obviously), we spend so much time minding those basic fears and needs that we often overlook the aftermath- the anatomical apocalypse that typically ensues after labor and delivery.
I was faced with a reminder of my pregnancies this past weekend. About a month ago, I quit nursing George, but it was just last Saturday that I put on one of my favorite bras for the first time in over a year. I’m not going to sugar coat it- it wasn’t even close to being the right size. Where the bra was once flush to my flesh, there were now gaping, fist-sized pockets of space. I tightened the snap, cinched the straps, and readjusted “the girls”, but it was no use. My children, quite literally, sucked the life out of my breasts, and no amount of underwire or Kleenex stuffing was enough to make that bra work.
Obviously this is trivial in the grand scheme of things. HELLO, MY BODY NURTURED AND GREW A HUMAN- it’s the greatest miracle of my life! But mercy, I wish gravity and hormones would cut my lady parts some slack. Haven’t they been through enough trauma? Given that my chest gets smaller with each pregnancy, I project that Aimee and I will be sharing training bras within the next few years. At the very least, I’ll have the option of shopping for swimwear in the junior’s department again.
Tiny, fried-egg-on-a-stick post-nursing boobs are just the itty bitty tip of the iceberg. No one tells you about hot flashes, swollen feet, hair loss, or hormones. No one tells you about the, ahem, sanitary items you get sent home from the hospital with or the giant, granny panties that you’re forced to wear them with. No one tells you that the few ounces of flesh that used to sit perky in your bra are now going to be hanging low in the saddlebags of your nightmares. Why on earth would the universe leave us to discover these things in the privacy of our own mirrors at home? Why does no one tell us these things?
I say we band together. Let’s talk about the weird stuff that happens so that we’re not forced to deal with it alone. Let’s dust off all of the taboo things that the old fashioned think aren’t ladylike enough to talk about. Let’s just talk the facts. No one should have to discover new stretch marks on their own. No one should have to face those unspoken realities without a friend.
There’s things you don’t have to tell people about this flaxseed bread. You can just toast it, butter it, stack it in a sandwich, or make croutons for all I care. All I know is that people will love this flaxseed bread and they never have a clue that it’s healthy. It’s a 100% whole wheat bread packed with loads of fiber-rich ground flaxseeds, naturally sweetened with honey, and flavored with only enough salt to make the flavor just right. This is the soft, flavorful sandwich bread you can enjoy and feel good about eating.
This recipe for flaxseed bread is a modified version of my 100% whole wheat sandwich bread. To pack in extra flavor and fiber, we simply substitute some of the whole wheat flour for ground flaxseeds. It’s important to use ground flaxseeds (better known as flaxseed meal) and not whole seeds. Using the milled form of the seeds ensures that our bodies get the fullest benefit from the nutrients they have to offer, and remember, our bodies need all the help they can get, right?
We start by activating some active dry yeast in a bowl. Once dissolved, the honey, oil, and a bit of milk make an appearance to moisten all that whole grain goodness that we’re about to add. A pinch of salt, some flaxseed meal, whole wheat flour, and a little bit of vital wheat gluten rounds out the rest of the ingredients contained within the bread. After a couple of rises, the loaves are ready for a sprinkling more of seed and then the oven.
Once baked, these loaves are golden and nutty with a moist and tender crumb- the perfect vehicle for your morning toast, afternoon sandwich, or midnight schmear of peanut butter. I prefer to pair this bread with savory toppings, but it’s bread- you can literally use it for anything. The good news is that this recipe will make two loaves- one for you and one to hide from your kids and eat yourself one to share with a friend! If desired, you can wrap the extra loaf in foil and save in the freezer as I like to do from time to time.
I hope you give this flaxseed bread a try and that we can continue to talk about the nitty gritty. Because it’s only Monday and I want to hang out with y’all at least once more this week, stay tuned later this week for a bonus recipe. HINT: it’s sweet and breakfasty and just the thing you need to make this weekend’s brunch extra awesome. I think you’ll love it. Happy Monday to you and cheers!
If you like the flaxseed bread, you may also like:
This recipe makes two loaves of moist and nutty flaxseed bread- 100% whole grain and 100% delicious.
Total Time:2 hours 45 minutes
1 cup (240 mL) warm water
2 teaspoons (7 gm) active dy yeast
1–1/4 cup (300 mL) milk (I use 2%), room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey
2 tablespoons (30 mL) light oil (canola, vegetable, or extra light olive oil)
3–3/4 cups (450 gm) of whole wheat flour
¾ cup (75 gm) flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons (20 gm) of vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon (20 gm) salt
2 tablespoons of mixed seeds (I prefer flax, poppy, sesame, or chia, but any combination will suffice)
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the milk, honey and oil. Add 1-1/4 cups of the flour, flaxseed meal, gluten, and salt, stirring just until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir until dough is a fairly uniform, shaggy dough.
Allow the dough to rest 30 minutes.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (or by hand, if preferred) knead dough until dough is smooth and only slightly tacky, about 7-8 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add up to 1/2 cup of additional whole wheat flour.
Spray a large bowl lightly with baking spray and place dough inside, covering tightly with a sheet of Saran wrap. Allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1-1/2 hours, or until dough has risen and has approximately doubled in size.
Once risen, remove dough from bowl and separate in to two equal pieces, handling the dough as little as possible. Gently form the dough balls in to small loaf shapes.
Place dough in to two separate loaf pans (8.5″ X 4.5″ X 2.75″) that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to rise again for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has just barely risen over the top of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water to create the egg wash. Once the loaves have risen, brush the tops of each with a thin coat of the egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds. Place loaves in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until loaves have browned and sound hollow when tapped on the top.
Allow to cool in pan for ten minutes and then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
It is vital that bread rises well prior to being baked. If your bread is not rising well, place loaves in a slightly warmer spot in your kitchen. I let my bread rise next to a warm oven.
Allow bread to cool completely prior to slicing.
Bread will keep on the counter for several days but will keep best in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days. There’s no preservatives in this stuff so it won’t last as long as your supermarket bread- eat fast!
Wrapped securely in aluminum foil, bread will keep in a freezer for up to four months.