The lovely people at Singing Dog Vanilla sent me some vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. I love vanilla paste. It gives that great vanilla flavor and has little flecks of vanilla, so it can be used in place of vanilla beans. Singing Dog sells a 4 oz jar for 11.95. You can also find vanilla bean paste at Williams-Sonoma by Nielsen-Massey.

I started craving some sort of orange cake after seeing this flourless orange cake on one of my new favorite blogs. My initial plan was for a Vanilla Bean Cake with Blood Orange Glaze. Wouldn’t that just be so pretty? But alas, there were not any blood oranges at the store, and I had plenty of tangerines. The cake turned out nicely, but I would have preferred a tangier glaze. Perhaps a lemon or raspberry glaze (check out these cupcakes!) would have been better. The tangerines were just too sweet with the sweet vanilla cake. If you like sweet-sweet better than sweet-sour, go with the tangerine glaze.

Vanilla Bean Cake
  • 1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or seeds from 2 vanilla beans
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. 

Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not overbeat. 

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. 
adapted from Country Living Basic Vanilla Cake

Tangerine Glaze 
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup tangerine juice (may not use all)
1 teaspoon tangerine zest

Whisk juice into sugar one or two tablespoons at a time until desired consistency. Whisk in zest. Pour over cake.