Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream and Cherries

Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
The wonders of brown butter. Take an ordinary yellow cake and replace your regular old boring, normal butter with butter that's been heated until it goes dark golden brown and nutty-flavoured and you have something heavenly. Trust me, you want to make this cake for afternoon tea. You will make it and you will thank me for it.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
There's nothing complicated about this cake, it's the type of cake that I love to eat. The brown butter is the hero of this dessert. It's topped with freshly whipped cream that is slightly sweetened and full of vanilla bean seeds, and lots of fresh cherries. If you remember my Christmas Trifle, then you know how much I love the effect of fresh cherries as a dessert decoration. So pretty, if a little impractical to eat. You could replace it with any fruit, or maybe slice the cake in half and sandwich it with jam and cream. Ooh I really want to do that now.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
This cake is sitting in my fridge right now, calling to me. I think it tasted the best when it was fresh out of the oven because it was pillow soft in the middle and golden on the outside, so good with the fresh, cold cream and fruit. The fridge makes it a bit drier and harder because of the higher butter content, but it still tastes great. My advice is to serve it fresh, or to refrain from topping it with cream until you've brought it back to room temperature and are about to serve.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
You want use the fancy real vanilla bean pods for this one. Definitely not a time for fake vanilla essence. You may notice that the cream layer is nearly as thick as the cake layer. Yep, that's just how it should be.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
I took a lot of photos and I don't have much else to say because the cake speaks for itself. It's just one of those cakes that you can whip up at the last minute on a Sunday arvo (especially if you use whatever fruit you have or replace it with jam) and serve for tea.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
Make this, eat a big slice of it with a big cup of tea. Doooooo it.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Fresh Cherries
150g (1 1/3 sticks) butter (I used slightly salted but unsalted is also fine)
180g (approx 1 & 1/4 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
120ml (about 1/2 cup) milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste/pure vanilla extract
175g (approx 3/4 cup) granulated sugar (I used caster/superfine) 
2 large eggs

Prepare the brown butter ahead of time as you will need to chill it:
  1. Place butter in a small saucepan on low heat and stir until it melts completely.
  2. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the milk solids turn brown and the butter smells nutty, about 4 minutes longer (or however long it takes for the solids to brown). Take care not to burn.
  3. Scrape the melted butter and browned solids into small bowl and chill until solidified (about half an hour in the freezer, an hour or so in the fridge). When ready to make cake, remove from the fridge long enough that the butter is soft enough to be beaten with an electric mixer.
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease an 18cm (7 inch) round cake tin (you can also use 20cm/8inch). Line the base of tin with baking paper. 
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix milk and vanilla together in a measuring jug.
  3. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat sugar and brown butter in a large bowl until blended. Increase speed to high and beat well until very pale and creamy, at least 5 minutes. 
  4. Reduce speed to medium low, add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Alternately add flour mix and milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture (I did it by adding 1/4 of of the dry mixture followed by 1/3 of the wet mixture at a time). Beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with a spatula. 
  6. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the outside is golden, about 35-40 minutes. Take cake not to overbake or cake will be dry. 
  7. Cool in tin for 15 minutes, then carefully turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Best served freshly baked and cooled but can be chilled in an airtight container for a couple of days.
For the cream:
300ml (about 1 1/4 cups) thickened cream, cold
1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/pure vanilla bean extract)
1/4 cup icing/confectioner's sugar, sifted
To decorate: Fresh cherries or other fruit
  1. (Only whip cream when ready to serve and cake is at room temperature.) Place cream in a large mixing bowl with vanilla bean seeds and icing sugar. 
  2. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until it reaches soft peaks. Take care not to overmix.
  3. Use a spatula to spread over the top of your cake.
  4. Decorate with fresh cherries (you can pit them and remove their stems to make it easier to eat but I love the look of whole cherries), or other fruit. Best eaten with a cup of tea.
Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream & Cherries

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  1. This cake looks truly magical! Love the cherries on top.

  2. I'm obsessed with brown butter! The cherries on top look absolutely stunning!

  3. This looks so delicious and heavenly. I'm already thinking about which tea should accompany this dish.

  4. What a simple dessert. I must say, those cherries are making me miss summer! We get the best BC cherries here in Canada come July!

  5. I'm not usually the most practical person..but I have to admit that when I saw this on Instagram, my first thought was that this is GORGEOUS followed by the thought that the cherries might be a bit inconvenient to eat though. I think it's totally worth it though!

  6. Now that's my kinda cream to cake ratio! And gah brown butter cake sounds amazing!

  7. That looks ridiculously delicious. I need to make it! As for the thickened cream..would heavy cream be a good substitute?

    1. Yes they should be equivalent! I hope you do make it! :)

  8. Ok. I who never makes anything from a blog, made this ridiculously easy cake. It was a massive hit! I cut jt in half and filled it with your lovely whipped cream & strawberry jam. Everyone went for seconds, and it just disappeared. I made a chocolate version too, filled that with milk chocolate ganache and strawberries. That was a massive hit too. Than,s steph for all the recipes.

  9. Hey! Will the clarified butter set like normal butter so the creaming is possible ?

    1. Yes, that's why we chill it before using it. Make sure you include the browned solids too!

    2. Hey again! Just made this! This cake is AMAZING! Love it!!
      I didn't add the browned solids though, as i was unclear about that. Will do that next time!
      Thank you for the recipe! It's a hit!

    3. Thanks for letting me know, I'll clarify that in the recipe

  10. This looked so amazing!! I just gave this a go and it was delicious!! I couldn't get any cherries, so I decorated with strawberries instead. I am now a brown butter convert!! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!! I took some photos below if anyone would like a look!!


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