Food + Wine

Brown Butter Cake with Salted Caramel Buttermilk Frosting

I know.  I know.  I am such an evil, evil woman.  See… as a food person, I know the words and terms that get people all hot and bothered.  And know how to food flirt.  And I just totally took advantage of you right now.  But you totally want me to.


Guys.  GUYS!!!  This is a sexy damn cake.  Oh yes, cakes can be sexy.  Wanna know how?  Cuz I made one.  And y’all.  I don’t even like cakes that much.  (I’m a pie girl, remember?) But this one got me closin’ my eyes.

sexy cake.

Also, the staying power on this cake is kinda magical.  I made it for an event on a Friday, then it held up to be served for another event on the following Tuesday, then maybe I had breakfast cake a couple days after that…  It’s one of those cakes that starts off so good and moist and perfect, that as the days go by… even if it begins to dry out just a smidge… it’s still bomb.

magic sexy cake.

So you’re essentially making a yellow butter cake, but you’re using brown butter.  And brown sugar.

And then you’re making a caramel frosting.  But you’re making it a buttermilk caramel frosting. And you’re sea-salting the love outta that piece.

It’s just gorgeous.  And rich.  And as sweet as it sounds like it is… (and yeah, so it kinda is, but ya’ll know me and how I cut waaaay back on the sugar in all my recipes) it’s also supremely balanced.  I’m just incredibly proud of this recipe, so darn happy to share it with you, and wish I had actual testimonials from its eaters so you’d believe me more.

But you’re just gonna have to take my word for it.

honest magic sexy cake baker.



makes a 2 layer (9 inch) round cake

. b r o w n   b u t t e r   c a k e .

Begin by browning your butter.

In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, place…

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups)

Allow the butter to melt, then foam, then pop, then once the foam dissipates and the popping has ceased, turn off the heat and carefully pour into a heat-safe container/bowl…including the dark bits.  You now have brown butter.

Allow this to cool at room temperature all day/night if possible.  Basically you want it to cool down to be room temp/fully softened as you would with standard butter for other cake recipes.

Mix the following dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl…

  • 2 1/4 cup AP flour (unbleached is always best)
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaping tsp kosher salt

Whisk this to combine and set aside while you begin your batter.

In the bowl of your standing mixer, add…

  • your cooled/softened 3 sticks of brown butter

Whip this with the paddle for about 3 minutes, or until fluffy.

Add in…

  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

Whip again with the paddle for another 2-3 minutes, or until even fluffier.

Add in…

  • 2 good splashes of really good vanilla extract (or if you’re a bean person, this would be one vanilla bean, scraped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks (both at room temp)

Add the eggs/yolks one at a time. Mix until the eggs have broken down and mixed in well.

Alternately add the following into your wet ingredients in the mixer, in 3 steps…

  • your dry ingredients (separated into 3rds)
  • 1 1/4 cup evaporated, whole milk (this is almost 1 (12 oz) can) (separated into 3rds)

Don’t bother to actually measure out each into 1/3 sections, just eyeball it and add roughly 1/3 of your dry mix, then 1/3 of your milk and so on until it’s all in.

Mix well, scraping down the sides, until you have a smooth batter.

Pour batter equally into 2 greased 9 inch round cake pans.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick/wooden skewer comes out with moist crumbs but no wet batter when inserted in the center, and it has pulled away from the sides of the pan with pretty, golden brown tops.

Allow to cool completely.

. s a l t e d   c a r a m e l   b u t t e r m i l k   f r o s t i n g .

Make this a day ahead of time to allow it to properly cool before you whip it.

In a large pot… (you need a high sided, large pot because this will bubble up and potentially over if you don’t.  You will make sure and do that because I did not and therefore had to quickly clean off my stove before the caramel hardened and I had myself a candied stove…)

…on medium heat, add the following…

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Melt this completely.

Add in…

  • 2 1/2 cups light brown sugar

Stir with wooden spoon and dissolve.


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (whole)

Stir.  Boil 3-4 minutes.  It will bubble.  If it appears to begin to bubble to a dangerous level, turn down the heat and remove it from the burner to let it die down and begin again slowly.


  • 1 tsp baking soda

More bubbles will happen now.  Stir and boil for 2 minutes.

Transfer to a large glass (heat-safe) bowl and allow it to cool completely.  Once it’s at room temperature, transfer to the fridge to chill completely, uncovered.

Once you’re ready to frost your cooled cakes, use an electric beater (or the (cleaned) standing mixer again with the whisk attachment) and beat the frosting until light and fluffy and a light beige color instead of caramel brown.

please lick your fingers.

. a s s e m b l y .

Lay one cake down on a cake stand or plate, rounded side down.

Add a thick layer of frosting to the center, and spread out evenly until almost to the edge.

Carefully place the other cake over, flat side down/rounded side up.

Begin by plopping a heaping dollop of frosting on top and spreading towards the outer edges, then along the sides. Always begin at the center of the cake and work your way out and down.  Frost the entire cake.  Make swirls or designs with a fork or butter knife, if desired.

Serve room temperature, or chill and serve cool.

And always store your leftover cakes covered as air tight as possible, with dampened balls of paper towels inside to keep the moisture in.

Depending on the weather, this cake could slump a bit, so be careful when you slice it…

Nobody seemed to mind…

Thanks for reading, y’all.  I hope you have a decadent day 😉 xo

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  • Reply Gail November 26, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Oh, my. This sounds amazing, Abbey! (And I love the clear, foolproof way that you explain how to make brown butter.)

    • Reply Everyday Champagne November 27, 2016 at 6:38 am

      Aww… thanks so much, Gail! Brown butter may be one of my favorite ingredients 😉

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