Some think the smell and taste of Vanilla is “Ambrosia to the Gods” and I tend to agree.
Vanilla Frosting is a particular favourite of mine, made with butter, some fresh cream and a good slurp of pure vanilla essence mixed with some confectioners sugar, topped quite thick on a light as a feather sponge or cup cakes and eaten with relish.
Vanilla has been used for centuries to flavour foods and today, it can be found in ice cream, cakes, biscuits, milk drinks, added to fruit juice it brings out the flavour of the fruit, some even add it when cooking vegetables as it also enhances the taste of the veggies bringing out their natural sweetness.
I can remember my Grannie using pure vanilla essence in many dishes. She would only use the pure extract; in fact I am not even sure if there was any imitation vanilla essence back in her time, if there was, I was not aware of it. She would add 2 teaspoons of this to the rice pudding she would make for Grandad. Her custard that was poured over her apple pie was something heavenly sent; she would make this with ½ cream and ½ milk and loads of vanilla.
One thing I can remember is her Vanilla butter slab cake. Grannie was quite proud of this. She would make a huge amount of cake batter, which she said was double the normal mixture for a cake, it had her freshly made butter, 6 eggs, sugar, flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and fresh cream with 4 teaspoons of pure vanilla essence. This would go into a large rectangle cake pan lined of course.
Once cooked and cooled, Grannie used to get me to help her make the vanilla frosting spread it thickly on the cake add some to a piping bag and pipe a shell pattern around the sides of the cake. After all this was done, I was allowed to lick the bowl! Joy oh Joy!
This cake was generally served and eaten with relish on a Friday night for supper by my Mum and Dad, Aunties and Uncles and Grannie and Grandad, along with steaming mugs of milky hot chocolate as it was a family tradition that they met and played poker. The hot chocolate was amazing I remember, made with 3 blocks of chocolate melted in the hot milk. I sometimes got the job of stirring this lovely brew if I had gone down to Grannie’s place with mum and dad.
It is amazing what you can remember about your childhood and making delicious frostings with my Grannie is one of them.
Until Next Time