Wait … WHAT??? So is it vanilla or is it … not vanilla? Well … It is. Or it can be. Or it can not be. It’s really your call. But really no one ever know if it is ….. or if isn’t. Are you confused yet? I know. I’m sorry! Lol. Ok, so here’s the deal. If you bake cakes often then enough you have seen the cost of vanilla skyrocket!!! A bottle from Costco is like $38 right now!!! Holy Cow Batman! Crazy right!!! So for a long time I have been making mine own. But then I decided to try something. See I always added a special ingredient to my vanilla cakes anyhow. One that made them stand out. One that took my cakes over the top. It added more depth and flavor without being overly noticeable. It gave them a flavor people noticed was special but not so much that it made it stand on its own. What to know what it is? Cream Sherry.
This magical little bottle. So when the cost of vanilla kept going up I started to experiment a little more. Finally I found the prefect combination. It involved this second lovely bottle.
Oh my heart skipped a beat. These two pair together to give your cake almost the same classic nutty and floral notes of vanilla. To increase the flavor even more you can even add a small drop of vanilla to it as well. I always weigh my recipes. Kitchen scales are cheap and a great investment. You can get them at the grocery store, Walmart, Amazon…. pick one up!! If you want consistent results you have to learn to weigh your recipes. First place your bowl that you will be using for your dry ingredients on the scale empty and zero it out so that it reads zero. Then set it to the unit you are measuring in. Usually ounces or grams. Then measure each dry ingredient in a separate bowl. Do not mix the flour and sugars together for this recipe.
Use a liquid measuring cup as shown to measure your liquid ingredients. Dry measuring cups measure differently. Make sure you are using a liquid cup like this one shown or similar. Microwave the milk for 60 seconds.
Look at all this! So pretty. Ready to become a cake! Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature. Your butter should be soft and the milk lukewarm.
Place the sugar, oil and butter in the mixing bowl and mix until incorporated. This only takes about 30 seconds.
Add in your Sherry and Madeira wine.
Next pour in your flours and other dry ingredients. Mix for about 30 seconds.
Pour in your warm milk. Pulse the mixer on low to prevent splashing until it starts to become absorbed. Then turn to medium and mix for one minute
Next pour into you prepared pans. Always use parchment paper! I alway use baking strips with vanilla cakes. It makes a huge difference. I suggest these as well. These are strips you wet and wrap around the pans and pin on. I filled 3 8” Rounds and to minis for a smash cake.
Look how amazing these baked up!!
Soooo Beautiful!!! Seriously! Look at the perfect bottom and sides of this cake! No trimming! Perfectly golden. Perfectly moist. So flavorful!
Now just wrap them up in Saran wrap and wrap to lock in the heat and moisture and place them directly in the freezer until ready to use. This is what locks in the moisture. It does not dry them out. Trust me! The flavor is amazing! The cost is unbeatable. And if you ask me even when vanilla comes back down in price, these two ingredients will never leave my vanilla cake again! Don’t be afraid to try other liquors or flavoring in your cakes. They make for great flavor enhancers. People have relied on the one flavor of vanilla for way to long! Get out of the box!!! Don’t be afraid. Try something new. It just might be your next favorite!
Find the full recipe BELOW!