Elevenses, Sweet Things, Cookalongs
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Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake & Calvados Anise Weekend Muffins with a Blood-Orange Glaze

“I like the dryness of it,” Tor told me matter-of-factly, as if that should explain everything. “But the dryness is why I made a glaze for my own version!” I retorted. “Well…I like it dry,” he concluded, with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders.


I missed a couple weeks of Tuesdays with Dorie, a cookalong group baking their way through Dorie Greenspan‘s new book, Baking Chez Moi. Today I’m jumping back into the swing of things with a review of her Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake. This cake was very nice, though I thought it a bit dry. However, that’s what others may find they like most about it, as evidenced by Tor’s remarks above. I did forego the optional addition of rum, so perhaps the whole thing would have been more moist if I had opted for it; however, I can’t imagine that the brown butter and vanilla flavor—which is what redeemed it, in my opinion—wouldn’t have been overpowered by the rum. I thought it was a bit fussy with the method, first browning the butter, which took about ten minutes, then rubbing the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar, and finally folding the butter into the combined ingredients at the end. I wanted a truly quick mixing time for my variation, so I went back to basics: combine dry; combine wet; mix everything together.



With the abundance of blood-oranges in the stores now, and my lack of any citrus recipes so far this January, I decided to make a blood-orange glaze to add moisture and sweetness to my muffin version. Since the glaze was made with powdered sugar, I lessened the sugar in the batter, and added calvados for moisture.


This recipe makes six regular muffins.


For Cake:
57g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
110g (1/2 cup) sugar
2 large eggs
45 ml (3 tablespoons) heavy cream
1 teaspoon anise seeds
30 ml (2 tablespoons) calvados
For Glaze:
30g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
zest of one blood-orange
15 ml (1 tablespoon) fresh blood-orange juice


Melt butter and set aside to cool a bit. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Butter and flour muffin molds, or line with papers or silicone forms.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add anise seeds, cream, and calvados and whisk to combine. Add melted butter and stir. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet and dry ingredients together until a smooth, thick batter forms. Pour evenly into muffin molds. Bake for 30—35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare your glaze by mixing the sugar, zest, and juice until the clumps of sugar dissolve. Brush on as much or as little glaze as you want before serving. Store unglazed, wrapped in plastic wrap, for several days.


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  1. The citrus soak sounds delicious – I think that is the whole reason to have a dry cake…so that you can soak something delicious into it 🙂

  2. That’s the great thing about this round of TWD, you can miss a couple of weeks and jump right back in with no foul calls! 🙂 Your little muffin version of this recipe is very inspiring, I think I might like to try that as well…and that glaze really makes me want to try that as well. Nice idea.

    • Kristin says

      Yes, that is a nice thing about this group 🙂 Thanks for your kind words! I do hope you try it.

    • Kristin says

      Thanks 🙂 I really liked the way the glaze soaked in; the cake was dry enough that it didn’t get soggy!

  3. as I snacked on a piece of my cake, the thought that anise would have been the perfect flavoring came to mind-seems great minds think alike! next time I bake this one, I think I will add some seeds or switch out the rum for anisette.

    • Kristin says

      Thanks! This was the first time using the pan. It was a Christmas present from myself to myself 🙂

  4. When I read your post I thought, “That’s a real baker!” So creative. The muffins look wonderful.

  5. P.S. My daughter tasted a piece of my cake and said “Your bread is dry”. My bread???? She’s insane.

  6. I love the idea of muffins with a citrusy glaze…they look scrumptious (and your muffin pan is beautiful).

    • Kristin says

      I really love both anise and fennel seeds, and use them in lots of things (check out my recipes for quiche, cod, and pizza). I had a bottle of calvados I wanted to use instead of rum, and thought, “anise goes well with apples.” And there you have it 🙂

    • Kristin says

      Thanks 🙂 I think the glaze really made it, soaking in to add moisture, but they were also pretty good without it.

  7. Great idea to create a glaze for the cakes. I did end up adding the run to the cake and it may have helped the moisture as my cake didn’t turn out dry. Maybe if you don’t want to add rum you could increase the cream?
    Happy Baking!

    • Kristin says

      I think you’re right about the rum. Good idea to up the cream. And perhaps more butter would help too.

    • Kristin says

      Yes, this one was a bit hard to tell when it was done. I think it was common for it to be left in a bit too long. Thanks for the nice comments 🙂

  8. Your glaze sounds delicious! I didn’t find it too dry, but I think the sponge-like texture is perfect for soaking up deliciousness.

    • Kristin says

      Well then you agree with my partner! He loved it. And you’re right; it’s perfect for soaking, so both of us could be happy 🙂

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