Splish, splash, another dash, I am a liberal user of pure vanilla when I bake. I do measure but tend to add in more for most of my baked goods. I was aghast when last shopping for supplies and eyeballed the price of vanilla. My, oh my, bite the bullet and lessen the splashes! Have you noticed the price has more than doubled, perusing the internet it seems to have tripled. I will not in all good conscience switch to imitation vanilla, have no fear! Little Neva’s goodies won’t be compromised!
The ever popular Little Neva’s Jammie derives most of it’s dynamic flavor from Pure Vanilla ( and my extra splashes! )
The article below gives a great background into the production of vanilla and the reasons for it’s skyrocketing prices. The island country of Madagascar has more than 75 % world’s vanilla fields. This equates to reaching into our pockets for other favorite products. It is not just baked goods that may have price increases, add ice cream to the list as well as other products we consume regularly.
A shortage there has resulted in the increase the cost of vanilla beans from about $11 / pound in 2011 to $193 by the end of 2016. The vanilla farming process is quite labor-intensive, of course, it is divine, not easy to find it’s way into the bottle in your cabinet! The beans grow on orchids and require each one to be hand pollinated. Imagine, being the bee!
Add the cost of shipping to the price of beans and you can understand why Pure Vanilla demands a high price. The higher quality beans are harder to find as the price rises. Many farmers harvest the beans before they fully mature, because of thievery due to the value of the dark brown bean.
Apparently, this year’s vanilla crop is in good shape so hopefully we will see prices decline. In the meantime, resist the extra splashes!
Source: Vanilla bean shortage in Madagascar drives up prices in U.S. – CBS News
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged baking, brandy cake, family, gift cake, good luck cake, holiday, Little Neva's Bakery, New Years cake, Online local bakery, orange cake, pound cake, Virginia made cake on January 11, 2017|
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I searched for a recipe that had significance for the New Year and discovered the Orange Brandy Cake below, since it brings the consumer good luck, with a lucky coin hidden inside. All I can think of when items are put into a cake, is a trip to the dentist! I did just that favoring a broken molar, after consuming a lovely slice of pie of my making and biting down on a peach pit chunk. Is that luck or what?!
I had the intention of making this cake but after reading it over I decided it resembled the always yummy Brandy Pound Cake offered in Little Neva’s Bakery. The recipe below uses orange juice as well as zest. My cake requires sour cream and I add in 4 pure extracts to exotically dance around the brandy. Serve it with macerated fruit, whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce. Eat it plain, but no matter your version, you will be so satisfied with every bite, down to the last morsel or crumb. Yum!
Moist, extremely flavorful, terrific shelf life and just darn good, this tried and true recipe has been in my possession for many years. The original recipe called for Apricot Brandy but I have since used basic brandy or sometimes blending apricot with it. It had been a favorite with the family and has been shipped around the world many times, arriving in spectacular shape, regardless of the destination. Perfect as a gift, party, treat and made in Virginia, too!
If your curiosity has been peaked here is the link to our adored Brandy Pound Cake: https://www.etsy.com/listing/67054935/pound-cake-butter-rich-moist-embraced?ref=shop_home_active_3
Do give this one from Epicurious a peek, bake it, eat it, let me know what you think.. If you order Little Neva’s pound cake also please let me know what you think! Love feedback!
New Year’s Orange and Brandy Cake
( from Epicurious website)
Makes one 10–inch round cake
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, or a combination of butter and margarine
- 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Whole blanched almonds
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 10-inch round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the butter or butter and margarine and beat for 1 minute more. Beat in the orange juice and brandy.
- Whisk together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and the zests in another large bowl. Add to the yolk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
- In a large clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the pan and shake gently to even the top. Decorate the top with almonds.
- Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until it is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack before removing from the pan and serving.
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