My Brown Butter Cake seemed like the most delightful cake to mark my fourth blogiversary at Delightful Repast. It's one of my favorite cakes, one that can be filled and frosted all sorts of ways. Today I used Brown Butter Frosting for both frosting and filling, making for a cake that is subtle but intense!
Have we talked about brown butter yet? I mean, I know I've posted my Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls with Browned Butter Icing and maybe a couple other browned butter things, but I don't think I really went on and on and on about the wonders of brown butter. And it really is the best flavor on earth!
I developed this recipe years ago, first as a regular vanilla butter cake, and it always gets raves. With plain butter, it's a wonderful cake; but browning the butter gives both cake and frosting a complexity that takes it over the top.
Though I've listed the cake and frosting recipes separately, in case you want to make one without the other, if you're making both you can brown the butter for both at the same time. I find it easiest to do it in two separate small pans.
Can't believe I've been blogging for four years! Of course, I don't post several times a week as some bloggers do. Just once a week. I figure most people don't have time to visit more often than that anyway. I so appreciate all of you who follow the blog here and on Twitter and Pinterest. If you enjoy Delightful Repast, I hope you'll share it with all your friends, relatives, coworkers, social media peeps and mere acquaintances!
Brown Butter Cake
(Makes two 8-inch layers)
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup milk (I use Organic Valley 2%, eggs and butter)
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill organic)
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces/298 grams) sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring or swirling frequently, until butter gets foamy and bubbly and just starts to turn light tan and smell nutty. You cannot take your eyes off it; it can go from brown to black in a flash! Set the pan in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to firm up the butter.
2 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease well and lightly flour two 8-inch layer pans. In small bowl, lightly combine the eggs, a quarter of the milk, and the vanilla. (One of my 8-inch pans was missing so I used 9-inch pans this time, so my cake isn't as tall as it should be. Always use the right size pans!)
3 In bowl of stand mixer fitted with flat beater (or in a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer), combine all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for one minute to blend. Add the soft-but-solidified brown butter and remaining milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. With mixer on medium-high speed (speed 5 on my Cuisinart stand mixer), beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
4 Gradually beat in the egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides.
5 Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks for an hour.
Brown Butter (Beurre Noisette) Frosting
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 to 5 tablespoons milk or cream
1 In small saucepan, melt butter and salt over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring or swirling frequently, until butter gets foamy and bubbly and just starts to turn light tan and smell nutty. You cannot take your eyes off it; it can go from brown to black in a flash! Set the pan in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to firm up the butter.
2 In bowl of stand mixer fitted with flat beater (or in a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer), beat the brown butter and the softened butter until smooth; add vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar in about 4 batches, alternating with a little milk, as needed to make frosting smooth and spreadable.