A wonderful vanilla cake with the unmistakable flavor of brown butter and a perfect coffee glaze.
For the cake:
- 1 cup (225g) butter, browned
- 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk, at room tº
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (280g) cake or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar (I use brown sometimes)
- 2 eggs (at room tº)
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons strong coffee
To make brown butter:
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan with tall sides (a few inches or so depending on the amount of butter you're browning) over medium heat.
- It will melt and will start to bubble and make a furious noise (this will be louder depending on the amount of water the butter has).
- Then, the bubbles will become smaller and it will gradually stop chirping (really, it's a chirping noise, you'll see) and will foam quite a bit (images 1 and 2 above).
- Be careful as it will start browning underneath the foam. You will smell a nutty aroma.
- It's very important that you split the foam with the spoon or spatula you're using and see that it doesn’t burn. You want it to be an amber color. Similar to caramel, it goes from amber to burned in a short moment, so be careful.
- Take it out and put it in a shallow pan so it stops cooking.
- Allow to cool and refrigerate until cold. It doesn’t need to solidify completely (image 4 above), you want it soft.
For the cake:
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve. (I measure the ingredients and sift it directly when adding them to the butter mixture).
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Butter or spray a large bundt cake pan. Dust with flour or fine breadcrumbs. (If using one of the intricate pattern new bundt pans the best way is to use baking spray, the one that comes with flour incorporated. If not, butter it carefully with a brush (every angle, every corner), dust with flour shaking off excess and put it in the fridge while you make the batter. Use it directly. It will unmold without a problem).
- In a large bowl, beat brown butter while gradually adding the sugar for 3 minutes, until light and airy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla in 2 parts. Don't overbeat as it will make the cake tough.
- Put the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes and carefully unmold onto a metal rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
For the glaze:
- Mix powdered sugar and coffee until you have a spreadable, honey-like consistency. Pour over the cold cake and let it drip down the sides.
Store wrapped in film or covered.
- Brown butter: You need to cool down the brown butter. Take into account that extra prep time. And you can make it in advance. I am so in love with it, I usually brown a pound of it, put it back in the fridge and simply use it as regular butter for whatever cake/cookie/shortbread I'm making next.
- Cake pans: Bundt cakes are always a favorite of mine but you can also make 2 loaf cakes from this recipe.
- How long does it keep: If well wrapped, it keeps a few days at room t° (not scorching obviously), and up to 1 month in the freezer.
- Glaze: the coffee glaze pairs wonderfully, but you can also use tangerine juice, orange juice or orange liquor, maple syrup, Frangelico or other hazelnut liquor, Kahlua or other coffee liquor.
- Gift giving: this is a great cake to give as a gift, because it's simple yet has a sensational flavor, but it's vanilla, so it's hard to find someone who doesn't like it. I like to make small loaf cakes (this recipe yields 4) to take over to friend's houses when they invite me over.
Keywords: brown butter cake, butter cake