It’s pretty common knowledge that I am still learning my way around the kitchen. However, my daughter loves to cook so I find myself in the kitchen a lot! From my previous posts you all know I love the Homemade Pantry cookbook. I do, it’s awesome. There is just something about being able to make your most basic ingredients that is satisfying. My daughter and I made our first batch of vanilla extract last summer and it’s almost gone so we made some more last night. It’s the easiest process ever but I never even thought about making it vs buying it before I read the cookbook.
First you will need vanilla beans. I couldn’t find them locally so I ordered them online. I think they are less expensive online also. I ordered from Beanilla. I also purchased the tall mason jar from Hobby Lobby so I could store the remaining vanilla beans without scrunching them.
For the vanilla extract you only use the spent vanilla beans so you will need to find a great recipe to use the actually vanilla in! I know, it’s a tough job…your going to probably have to bake a delicious cake, or pudding or something sweet and amazing. We chose a honey vanilla cake recipe from the Beanilla website last night. My husband’s birthday is coming up so we planned ahead to make a cake using vanilla.
Once you have the empty vanilla beans you will pour the Vodka into a mason jar and put the beans in also. That’s it! I don’t think there is an exact science to how much Vodka you use and how many beans. We use cheap Vodka and it works great. I used about a cup of Vodka for this batch and two beans because that’s what I had. I think on our previous batch it was similar. We may have used three beans.
It takes about three weeks for it to darken and really become good vanilla extract. Just let it sit until it does and then take out the beans. It’s a fun process!
The link to the cake recipe is above. I have never put orange zest into a cake batter and I didn’t think I was going to like it but I did very much!
Look at all of those specs of vanilla in the batter! The cake was very dense and heavy. I’m certain I did something wrong. I don’t know what though. We used a classic butter frosting recipe from my Grandmother’s Women’s Home Companion Cookbook. This was published in 1942 and is very interesting!
The frosting was delicious. We just can’t seem to frost a cake neatly…at all!! So, the birthday cake turned out like every other year…tastes great but didn’t look great. It’s almost a tradition at this point. But, they are homemade and we do give it a lot of effort so hopefully that counts for something.