Best Vanilla Bean Loaf Cake Recipe

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This fragrant cake makes the most of a plentiful supply of candy-sweet clementines-zest, juice, and segments. Vanilla beans contribute to the flavor in a big way. Save the split pods for rnaking vanilla sugar: Place them in a jar of sugar, seal lid, and leave for at least a week; the sugar should keep for several months. MAKES ONE 9-BY-5-INCH LOAF

  • 1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 10 clementines or tangerines
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, pods reserved for another use 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Finely grate the zest of 4 clementines to yield 1 tablespoon zest. Peel 2 zested clementines, then slice fruit along membranes to release segments into a bowl; discard membranes and any seeds. Juice remaining 8 clementines (including zested ones) to yield 3/4 cup juice.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup clementine juice, the cream, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, zest, 1 cup sugar, and the vanilla seeds until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of cream mixture. Fold clementine segments into the batter.
  4. Transfer to prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/2 cup clementine juice and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes.
  5. Remove cake from oven. With a wooden skewer, poke holes all over top; brush with half the clementine syrup. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely.
  6. Brush remaining clementine syrup onto sides and top of cake. (Cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature overnight, refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 2 weeks; let thaw at room temperature before serving.)

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