Caramel Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

February 13, 2012

It is (one of many) “birthday months” at our house.  My husband, who resisted the idea of the birthday month for years, finally sees the beauty.  Of course it is his birthday month, and a big one at that.  Celebrating for an entire month allows for a thorough celebration.  Why choose between a party, an outing, a nice dinner, a trip?  With a birthday month you can do it all!

Our festivities began with a few good friends, lots of (still eating the leftovers!) good food, a backyard fire, and of course a birthday cake!  My husband is a caramel guy, so after trying to tempt him with cake after cake that featured the power duo of chocolate and caramel, we finally settled on a cake that did away with the distractions and featured the caramel promptly.

Caramel Cake with Brown Butter Frosting is my adaptation of a cake from Maya Angelou’s cookbook, Hallelujah.  It is a basic butter cake infused with caramel.  So there was no mistaking the caramel, I added an extra layer between the cake layers and drizzled it over the top of the cake.The frosting is the kicker.  The standard American buttercream is blown into complete deliciousness, by browning the butter and then chilling it back to proper temperature before whipping it up with powdered sugar and cream.  Yes, this frosting is outstanding! All in all, they are a great match and the cake was very well received!

Caramel Cake

adapted from Hallelujah by Maya Angelou via Martha Stewart

makes 1 8-inch cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1  cup sugar
1/4 cup Caramel Sauce, plus more for serving
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 2 8-inch cake pans.  Line the bottoms with parchment.

Beat butter.  Gradually add 3/4 cup of the  sugar.  Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in the caramel sauce.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.  Begin and end with the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs until foamy, then add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir egg mixture into the rest of the batter.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown and the cake bounces back when you gently press your fingertip into it.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  Invert, peel off the parchment, and place on a cooling rack.  When cake is completely cool, either frost or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until you are ready to use the cake.

Brown Butter Frosting

3 cups unsalted butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

Melt butter in a small saucepan until nut-brown in color.  Do not burn.  Pour butter into a bowl and let cool until solid, but not firm.  The browned solids will sink to the bottom of the bowl.  Scoop browned butter into a mixing bowl.  Take care not to scoop up the little burnt bits.  Discard those- they will make your frosting looks speckled and give it a rough texture.  Whip the butter with the powdered sugar, salt, whipped cream, and vanilla.  If the frosting seems to wet, add more sugar.  If it seems to dry, add more cream.  Frost cake.

Print this recipe:  Caramel Cake

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

Caramel Apple Tarts

Deep Dark Gingerbread

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4 Responses to “Caramel Cake with Brown Butter Frosting”

  1. Simply Tia Says:

    A birthday MONTH sounds like a blast. Next time I’m going to try a birthday week!

    That cake looks fantastic and yummy. Happy birthday to your husband, I hope all his wishes and dreams come true!

  2. TasteFood Says:

    Why celebrate a day when you can have a month? This cake sounds wonderful – caramel is a favorite in our home.

  3. Hannah Says:

    Love it! My husband is a caramel fan, too…this cake would be perfect for him (and the rest of us!). Just the mention of brown butter frosting has my mouth watering. Enjoy the birthday month – sounds like you are celebrating well!


  4. [...] Caramel Cake with Brown Butter Frosting [...]


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