A soft, velvety tea cake with a hint of bourbon and vanilla
Since it’s lemon season, I spent an afternoon daydreaming about the perfect accompaniment to lemon curd, and created this bourbon vanilla cake. It’s a simple cake full of flavor with a delicate, velvety crumb. And it passed the test: bourbon vanilla cake is delightful when smothered in fresh homemade lemon curd.
As a family with roots in Kentucky, we always had bourbon in the house growing up. And while I may never be an avid bourbon drinker, I can still appreciate the wonderful flavor profile of a good bourbon. Here, homemade bourbon vanilla extract adds a depth of flavor that you wouldn’t normally achieve with traditional vanilla extract; it’s a lovely, sweet, scrumptious cake perfect for sharing.
I imagine serving this vanilla cake recipe at a tea party, girls brunch, bridal shower, or any event where you’d like to treat yo self with something decadent (but you didn’t have to slave over it in the kitchen). In fact, this recipe comes together in just under an hour – baking included – but the batter itself whips up in minutes.
The best part about this cake is that it’s so versatile. Here are some of my favorite versions, aside from the original in the recipe below.
- Add citrus zest (orange, tangerine, lemon, and meyer lemon are my favorites here)
- Add toasted walnuts, chopped into tiny pieces
- Add a swirl of spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom
If you have mini loaf pans, this cake is perfect for gifting, too! Ideally, of course, with a jar of lemon curd.
I hope you make this cake and enjoy it as much as we have.
Bourbon Vanilla CakePrint Recipe
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp bourbon vanilla, homemade or store bought*
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk or nut milk
- Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Baking spray and 2 tbsp flour to prepare pans
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare two mini loaf pans: spray with baking spray and scoop 1 tbsp of flour in each pan. Tilt the pan so that the flour coats the entire inside of the pan. Tap the bottom of the pan over your trash can to get rid of any excess flour. Set the prepared pans aside.
Combine sugars, egg, vanilla, bourbon vanilla and softened butter in a mixing bowl. Beat to combine on low, then on high for 5 minutes.
Combine flour and baking powder in a separate small bowl.
Alternately add the flour/baking powder and milk into the sugar mixture, mixing well between each addition.
Use a rubber spatula to stir in chopped nuts.
Pour batter evenly into the two prepared mini loaf pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
*If you don’t have bourbon vanilla, substitute 1 tsp bourbon + 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.