Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cake of the Week: Brown Butter Cake with Cinnamon Chocolate Frosting

Saturday morning I made a classic Mollie-mistake. I got up, ate breakfast, and hopped on the metro over to Virginia. I texted my friend to let her know I'd arrived, only to learn that we have furniture-shopping plans for next Saturday! Fail. (Dates, numbers, and just general attention to detail are clearly not my strengths).

So I found myself suddenly with a whole day and absolutely no plans. I texted 6x6 and we decided to do what all city-dwellers do on a nothing-going-on beautiful day: urban hiking. (Just kidding, I realize we're the only ones who do this.) Our route covered a lot of DC: from Dupont Circle to Eastern Market, then to Farragut, Foggy Bottom, and finally back to Dupont. Some beings are sedentary, some are migratory...we're perambulatory. I mapped our walk when I got home - over 9 miles! With only one sit (for Fro Zen Yo - the main indicator that it's summertime!).

I felt my newly-acquired sunburn as I pulled on my sports bra to go for a run. Other summer indicators were out in full force: the Mall was full of tourists, I ended my run very sweaty, and I had to water my garden to keep the roses alive.

In contrast, Sunday was all-day rainy, so I spent it curled in my reading chair with a cup of tea, baking and cooking delicious food. I hadn’t made a layer cake in far too long, which means I was over-due to pull out my bowls and measuring cups, crank up my music, and start baking! So this Browned Butter Cake with Cinnamon Chocolate Frosting was born out of semi-boredom, but in the best way possible.

Browned butter is soooo easy to make and adds amazing flavor. It’s hard to describe…like butter, but buttery-er! And cinnamon chocolate (aka Mexican chocolate) is one of my favorite flavor combos. And it’s a one-bowl cake. So basically this recipe is a total win.

Brown Butter Cake with Cinnamon Chocolate Frosting

Printable recipe.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup browned butter*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp baking powder

*To brown butter:

  1. Heat pan on medium heat.
  2. Cut butter in to pieces and melt in pan.
  3. Stir continuously. Butter will foam up.
  4. After foam subsides, small brown flecks will start to appear in bottom of pan.
  5. Continue stirring, until butter has reached a nice brown color, and nutty aroma - once you can smell it, it’s done! It takes about 5 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat and continue stirring until cool (about 3 more minutes).

For cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Grease and flour 3 8- or 9-inch pans, or line 24 cupcake tins. 
  3. Beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about a minute.
  4. Add milk, browned butter, and vanilla, stirring just until combined.
  5. Add flour and baking powder, beating until well mixed--about a minute. Don't over mix.
  6. Bake in preheated oven: 18-22 minutes for cupcakes, about 25 minutes for cakes, until tops are springy to the touch or a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to finish cooling on a wire rack. Once they’re cool, I recommend refrigerating for at least 15 minutes before frosting. 
  8. Cake recipe adapted from Honey and Jam.

Cinnamon Chocolate Frosting

This recipe makes about 2 cups frosting -- just enough for one 3-layer cake. If you like A LOT of frosting, I recommend 1 ½-ing it. 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter, cinnamon, and cocoa until smooth. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Beat in vanilla and add small amount of additional milk, if needed.

You know the drill: frost, serve at room temperature, and enjoy!

Printable recipe.