Nielsen-Massey end-of-summer review and giveaway: Can you smell the vanilla?

A touch of flour, a dash of sugar, a few cracked eggs – the baking season is upon us, and I’m loving it! Now is the time to bake cakes and to make memories, a time like no other, when sweetness and storytelling capture the hearts and mind of adults and children alike.

I wish I could tell you my family did a lot of baking when I was a child, but that would not be true. My mom and aunt had plenty of ideas and recipes but limited baking supplies, and had to rely on neighbors’ generosity or a stroke of good luck to get the most basic necessities of life. As such, baking came way after vegetable stew on the list of priorities, and when we baked we used very few ingredients and hardly any spices. Thankfully, times have changed and getting baking supplies is no longer an issue, which means that nowadays I bake a lot. Simply put, we missed many opportunities to create memories when I was little, and now I’m playing catch-up 😉

As part of my baking, I have enjoyed reviewing Nielsen-Massey products and incorporating them into my family’s recipes (check out my previous reviews of Nielsen-Massey products here, here and here). Nielsen-Massey contacted me again recently and offered to send me one of their products to review. I chose their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract – and the rest was history, as they say 🙂

Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract is produced from hand-selected beans cultivated in Madagascar and it is all-natural, kosher certified, non GMO and gluten free. Exhibiting a sweet, creamy and mellow flavor profile with velvety after-tones, this extract can be used in a wide range of both sweet and savory dishes. I decided to use it to make one of our most trusted recipes from mom’s recipe book, a recipe I posted here before: pound cake.

This truly is a simple cake to make. I started off by beating 4 egg yolks with sugar and adding them to previously beaten, stiff egg whites. I mixed a little, added vegetable oil and milk, and then added the dry ingredients (a combination of flour and baking powder) and mixed some more. I also added the dried cranberries and mixed with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed. Lastly, I put the vanilla extract in and mixed until incorporated.

The smell of pure vanilla was both delicate and intoxicating, and it brightened up our kitchen, giving it a sophisticated aroma which lingered on like a smooth summer dream. Too bad pictures don’t come with smells 🙂

For this quantity I needed two 9’x5.5′ baking pans, which my mother-in-law oiled and floured. I split the mixture in half and poured the first half into one pan.

I then added the cocoa powder to the mixture still in the bowl and mixed with a wooden spoon to ensure even distribution. I poured the cocoa mixture into the second baking pan…

…and placed both pans in the preheated oven. It takes approximately 45 minutes for the cakes to bake. You can check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cakes. They are done if the toothpick comes out clean and dry.

When done, I took the cakes out of the oven and let them cool. I sliced the cakes…

… and served them to my family as they were. For a more decadent dessert, add whipped cream or scoops of ice cream on top – or maybe both!

I thoroughly enjoyed using Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract in my pound cakes. This is a quality product, which added a delicate flavor and perfume to my baked goods and worked well with the cocoa powder and dried cranberries my recipe called for. I will continue to use this vanilla extract in the future since I think there’s no product like it on the market. This vanilla extract simply can’t be beaten in terms of flavor, versatility and freshness 🙂

Nielsen-Massey is offering Chicago Loves Panini readers the chance to win one bottle of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to recreate the aforementioned recipe – and more! – at home.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: Cookies or cakes? Which ones are your favorite, and why?

Giveaway open to US residents 18 years of age or older. One entry per person. Deadline for entries is 6PM central time on October 19th, 2018. One winner will be chosen on or around October 20th, 2018 by using a random number generator and will have 72 hours to respond to the winner notification email. I reserve the right to pick an alternative winner if the original winner does not contact me 72 hours after receipt of winner notification email.

Good luck!

Print Recipe
Cranberry and cocoa pound cakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
people
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Beat the egg yolks well in the mixer with the sugar until the mixture is airy and fluffy. Beat the egg whites separately until stiff, and then add them to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well. Add the vegetable oil slowly and continue mixing. Add the milk as well.
  3. Combine the baking powder with the flour in a bowl. Slowly incorporate them into the egg, sugar and oil mixture. Continue mixing until the ingredients are well combined. Add the dried cranberries and mix with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed. Lastly, add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
  4. Oil and flour two 9’x5.5′ baking pans. Split the mixture in half and pour the first half into one pan. Add the cocoa powder to the mixture still in the bowl and mix to ensure even distribution. Pour the cocoa mixture into the second pan.
  5. Place the pans in the oven and bake the cakes for approximately 45 minutes or until golden-brown. You can check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cakes. The cakes are done if the toothpick comes out clean and dry.
  6. When done, take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool. Slice and serve as per your preference.
  7. Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: While I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.


6 Comments

  • Dorothy Spackman

    September 28, 2018

    I prefer cookies. Easier to grab for a snack and I just like them better. This vanilla sounds awesome!

    Reply
  • Carol Dziuba

    September 28, 2018

    Cookies. You can see my work at Grandma Carol’s Cookie Jar on Facebook. I use a lot of vanilla, I’d love to win!

    Reply
  • Michelle J.

    October 3, 2018

    Cookies, because they are easily transported.

    Reply
  • Amanda Whitley

    October 12, 2018

    i like cookies because they are less messy and i dont feel as guilty eating more than one 😉

    Reply
  • Hannah G

    October 13, 2018

    I love chocolate, and it doesn’t get more decadent than I rich chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!

    Reply
  • Vivian H.

    October 17, 2018

    I love cakes. They’re so moist!

    Reply

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