More. But it can also be incredibly pricey, and contains alcohol—a no-no for plenty of bakers and eaters for various reasons. She also cites a similar test from America's Test Kitchen in which imitation vanilla tied with natural vanilla in a cake bake-off, but prefers using real vanilla extract for her own cakes. For what it’s worth, a taste test conducted a while ago by Cook’s Illustrated found that there was a fairly negligible difference taste-wise between authentic vanilla extract and imitation vanillin. About. I Own It I Own It I Own It. But when it comes to using vanilla in baking, you’re unlikely to taste the difference. The pods are soaked in alcohol, which “extracts” the flavor. Baking Vanilla vs Pure Vanilla, what’s the difference and does it matter? Pure Vanilla Extract – vanilla extract is made from the vanilla bean pod, which is part of the Vanilla planifolia plant, a variety of orchid. Sugar or corn syrup can still be added to pure vanilla extract to bulk up the bottle. The brown color occurs naturally as a by-product of the essential oils in the bean. Pure vanilla extract must contain vanilla beans, water, and alcohol.Alcohol is used to “extract” the flavor out of the vanilla beans. Vanilla extract is made by soaking split vanilla beans in a solution of ethanol and water. Pure vanilla extract: Any vanilla product that’s named “pure” contains vanillin that’s derived from real vanilla beans. Here’s how to decode the vanilla you see in the baking aisle. That's where imitation vanilla comes into play. Where to buy. Reviews. However, the results did vary slightly based on what desserts the vanilla was featured in. But there was something interesting about Baker’s ingredient list: It included vanillin as well as ethyl vanillin. Pure vanilla extract is obviously excellent, or else it wouldn't have spawned so many imitators. Per the FDA’s definition of “vanilla extract,” it must contain at least 35% alcohol by volume and at least 100 grams of vanilla beans per liter. Pure vanilla extract is made by steeping vanilla beans in ethyl alcohol and water. Usage Tips. Share Print. Recipes. Imitation vs. Real Vanilla: Scientists Explain How Baking Affects Flavor. I Own It I Own It I Own It. In general, we liked stronger vanilla flavor, and the product with the second-highest vanillin level at 0.58 grams per 100 milliliters, Baker’s Imitation Vanilla Flavor, was our overall winner. A flavorful imitation vanilla extract to add to all your favorite baked goods. Where to buy. Baker's® Imitation Vanilla Flavor. However, read the label closely.