The other weekend we went to stay with our friends in Brighton for the night. I have a serious crush on Brighton which started when I visited for the first time last year, you can read about that here. On Sunday I was feeling a little worse for wear but when we got home I still had the urge to bake something. I knew it would have to be relatively simple, comforting and of course tasty. I had discovered the recipe for this cake earlier in the week and loved how wonderfully simple it sounded but so focused on flavour. After checking the cupboards and discovering I needed nothing from the shops (another win) I set about making this. I realise I am so late on the bandwagon with Emma’s blog, which is now an archive of recipes, but since discovering it I have pretty much ready every single blog post still available – if like me you are little behind then I suggest you get over there (after making a cup of tea and you should probably have some cake too otherwise you will be starving by the time you have finished).
Now I have never made brown butter before, I had heard about it and all its wonderful nutty aromas before sure but I had never really been drawn in to try until this cake. I was a little nervous browning butter, not really knowing what to look for, how to do it or anything but Emma has a great guide on her blog, which you can find here. I don’t have a light coloured pan, but I can see how useful it would be and if my obsession continues to grow at the rate it has this week I will be going out to purchase a pan just to brown butter.
Brown butter is everything everyone has talked about, well forever, the smell is, as the name suggests, nutty and it adds such a depth of flavour. Since browning butter for the first time I have, as you may have guessed, become a little obsessed. Essentially I have been thinking about how I can add it to any recipe and if I see a recipe with brown butter I automatically bookmark it. So I apologise in advance if the blog becomes filled with brown butter over the next few weeks, but I feel it coming and I am just going to have to let it happen. I am already thinking brown butter chocolate chip cookies, brown butter muffins and brown butter and apple cake. This is of course just the sweet list, there is also a savoury list.
Back to this cake. This is a fulfilled all my criteria I mentioned above but I find myself thinking of it as a perfect cake. It keeps well, if you can stop eating it, it has no adornment and is pretty robust and therefore easy to put in a packed lunch without having to worry about it getting crushed and looking more like a cake version of eat and mess by the time you get to eat it. The cake is effortlessly delicious.
Brown Butter Pound Cake | from Poires au Chocolat
- 185g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 3 eggs, cold from the fridge
- 200g plain flour
- 1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 165ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Put the butter in a medium pan and put on a low to medium heat until you have brown butter. Emma described the process beautifully here. Once you have brown butter pour it into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. Skim off and discard any froth that remains floating on top.
- Preheat the oven to 180°c. Grease or line your tin. I was using a decorative tin and therefore greased it. I melt some butter in a small pan and liberally brush it all over, making sure you get into all the corners.
- Once the butter has cooled pour it into a free standing mixer bowl (I put probably half of the toasty milk solids in but this is totally up to you) with the sugar and salt and beat it until smooth, creamy and pale in colour.
- In a separate bowl beat the eggs and slowly add one third at a time beating until incorporated between additions. If it curdles don’t worry, I put a couple of pinches of the flour in and that did the trick. Now beat the mix for five minutes on a high speed.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together and pour half of this mix into the cake mix and gently mixing on low before adding half of the milk, beating again. Follow this with the next third of flour, the rest of the milk and finally the last of the flour, mixing between each addition.
- Finally add the vanilla and mix through. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
- Let it cool in the tin for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
- This will last a few days in an airtight container.