Decisions, Decisions: French Vanilla or Vanilla Cake?

French Vanilla Cake vs Vanilla Cake

If you’re cake aficionado, the chances are good that you love the timeless flavor of vanilla.

But with the choice of plain vanilla or French, which one should you pick and what are the differences between them?

If you’re here wondering, then look no further!

In this article, we will explore the differences between French vanilla cake and regular vanilla cake in terms of taste, ingredients, and history.

For those who are curious, the main difference between French vanilla cake and vanilla cake is the addition of egg yolks and vanilla bean in the French version, which gives it a richer and more complex flavor compared to the standard vanilla cake.

Whether you are a baking enthusiast or just someone who loves to indulge in delicious desserts, this article will give you the info you need to make this important (but tasty) decision!

What is French Vanilla Cake?

French vanilla cake is a type of vanilla cake with a distinct flavor profile.

Unlike regular vanilla cake, French vanilla cake is made with an egg-yolk-rich custard base, which gives it a rich and creamy texture. The custard base is made by combining egg yolks, sugar, and milk or cream, which are then cooked over low heat until thickened. Vanilla extract is also added to the custard to enhance the flavor.

Because of these factors, it’s often characterized by its deep, complex flavor and aroma. It has a sweet, buttery taste with subtle notes of caramel and vanilla. Additionally, French vanilla cake often has a slightly yellow tint due to the egg yolks, whereas regular vanilla cake is typically white.

The cake is typically light and fluffy with a moist crumb, making it a popular choice for special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.

The term “French” in French vanilla cake does not refer to the origin of the vanilla, but rather to the method of making ice cream using egg yolks and cream, which gives it a custard-like flavor.

What is Vanilla Cake?

Vanilla cake is a classic, simple cake that is made from basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract.

It is a versatile cake that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for a variety of other desserts.

Vanilla cake is typically light and fluffy with a tender crumb. It has a subtle, sweet flavor that is enhanced by the vanilla extract. The cake can be made with either all-purpose flour or cake flour, depending on the desired texture. Cake flour will produce a lighter, more delicate crumb while all-purpose flour will result in a slightly denser texture.

Vanilla cake can be baked in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a simple round cake to a multi-layered cake with frosting and decorations. It is a popular choice for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions.

While vanilla cake may seem basic, it is a classic for a reason. Its simplicity allows the flavor of the vanilla to shine through, making it a delicious and timeless dessert.

Criteria French Vanilla Cake Vanilla Cake
Flavor Deep, complex with subtle notes of caramel and vanilla Subtle, sweet enhanced by vanilla extract
Texture Rich and creamy texture due to egg-yolk-rich custard base Light and fluffy with a tender crumb
Color Slightly yellow tint due to egg yolks Typically white
Ingredients Egg yolks, sugar, milk/cream, vanilla extract, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract Flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract
Baking Often used for special occasions; can be baked in a variety of shapes and sizes Popular for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions; can be baked in a variety of shapes and sizes
Origin Method of making ice cream with egg yolks and cream Classic and simple cake

Differences in Ingredients

French vanilla cake and vanilla cake share many of the same ingredients, but there are a few key differences. French vanilla cake typically contains more eggs and buttermilk, which give it a richer flavor and a denser texture.

Additionally, French vanilla cake often uses vanilla custard as a flavoring agent, which gives it a distinct taste. Vanilla cake, on the other hand, typically uses fewer eggs and less dairy, resulting in a lighter, fluffier texture. It also typically uses vanilla extract as a flavoring agent, which gives it a more subtle vanilla flavor.

Differences in Taste

The main difference between French vanilla cake and vanilla cake is the taste.

French vanilla cake has a richer, more complex flavor due to the use of buttermilk and vanilla custard. It has a slightly tangy taste and a deep, creamy vanilla flavor.

Vanilla cake, on the other hand, has a more subtle, straightforward vanilla flavor. 

Differences in Texture

French vanilla cake is denser and more moist than vanilla cake, with a tighter crumb. It also has a slightly chewy texture due to the use of buttermilk.

Vanilla cake, on the other hand, is lighter and fluffier in texture, with a more open crumb. It is also drier than French vanilla cake, but still moist and tender.

Difference in Appearance

French vanilla cake is typically a light yellow color, due to the use of egg yolks in the batter. It also has a slightly darker, more caramelized exterior due to the use of buttermilk.

Vanilla cake, on the other hand, is typically a pure white color. It has a lighter, more delicate exterior due to the use of fewer eggs and less dairy.

Criteria French Vanilla Cake Vanilla Cake
Ingredients More eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla custard Fewer eggs and less dairy; vanilla extract
Taste Rich, complex with a tangy taste and a creamy vanilla flavor Subtle and straightforward vanilla flavor
Texture Denser, moist, and slightly chewy Lighter, fluffier, and drier
Color Light yellow color; slightly caramelized exterior Pure white color; lighter, delicate exterior

Which One to Choose?

So, which cake should you choose?

It ultimately depends on your personal preference and the occasion. Vanilla cake is a classic and versatile option that can be enjoyed for any occasion. It has a light and delicate flavor that pairs well with a variety of frostings and fillings.

On the other hand, French vanilla cake has a richer and more distinct flavor. It is made with egg yolks and has a custard-like taste that is perfect for special occasions like weddings and birthdays.

If you are looking for a cake that is simple and elegant, vanilla cake is the way to go.

However, if you want a cake that is more decadent and indulgent, French vanilla cake is the perfect choice. It has a unique flavor that is sure to impress your guests and make any occasion feel extra special.

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