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Vanilla beans are a staple in my kitchen.  I usually buy them in bulk (online suppliers I’ve used include Beach Organics and Vanilla&Co), and use them whole to flavour caster sugar, poached fruit or jam; or scrape the seeds out to flavour baked goods, ice cream, custard and syrups.  What I don’t usually do is eat them whole!

So I was quite intrigued when I was offered a cake which was covered with fine slices of whole vanilla bean. I imagined that they would be quite tough, but the texture was similar to slivers of citrus zest, and filled the cake with the most wonderful scent and flavour of vanilla.

This recipe is one of several cake recipes I’ve gratefully received (ok, demanded :)) from colleagues at various times after sampling their delicious offerings at work.  As well as the vanilla, it has a clear honey flavour, and a light but dense texture that slices beautifully – I easily cut it into 16 slices for a work lunch. Thank you for this one Jane-Ann 🙂

A lovely Spring variation is to leave out the chocolate and vanilla and top with raspberries or blueberries (pictured above).  I add a little lemon zest if making that version.

Jane-Ann’s yoghurt honey cake with vanilla beans (or berries)

130g plain flour
130g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
140g honey
220g butter, melted and cooled
170g plain yoghurt
110g raw sugar
150g  good quality dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (leave out if using blueberries)
1 vanilla bean, sliced finely on the diagonal (or 1 punnet of blueberries or raspberries)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan-forced (200 degrees conventional). Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat eggs in separate bowl until light and fluffy, then add honey, butter, yoghurt, and sugar. Whisk well, then fold in flour mixture and chocolate.  Don’t worry if the batter looks slightly lumpy.

Scrape mixture into greased and paper-lined 24cm springform cake tin, smooth over and sprinkle the sliced vanilla bean on top. Bake for about 35-40 mins or until a cake skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack before removing from the tin. Serve with Greek yoghurt and extra berries if you like. I’d serve raspberries with the vanilla and chocolate, or maybe poached pears in winter…