Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

6 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup half & half

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Slice the vanilla bean in half, spread open, and scrape out the vanilla seeds on the inside.  Add scraped seeds to bowl and cream until well incorporated.  {Reserve vanilla bean pod for another use}.  Beat in eggs.  Add flour, baking powder and salt, and mix until well combined.  Pour in half & half, and mix for about 5 minutes.  Pour into greased 10-inch tube pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then place on cooling rack to cool completely.  

For additional vanilla flavor and a sweet topping, make a vanilla glaze for the top.  In a small saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons butter.  Stir in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Add enough milk, a teaspoon at a time, until the right consistency for topping the cake. Drizzle over top of cake.