September 15, 2010

Brown Butter Pound Cake

The August Daring Bakers Challenge was brown butter pound cake and ice cream. Either as a Baked Alaska or as a Petit Four.

A combination of different factors caused me to skip this months challenge. But I was still curious about the brown butter and the pound cake. When browning the butter, the milk protein precipitate from the melted butter, get caramelized and develop a nutty flavour. That's why it's also called nut butter. I thought I'd never had nut butter before, so I decided to just make the cake and leave away the rest of the challenge.


Browning the butter actually solved a childhood mystery. I remember eating vegetables (especially cauliflower) with butter drizzled over it. But the butter also contained little brown bits that I could never identify. If pressed for a guess I'd probably have gone with roasted breadcrumbs, but while browning the butter for this cake I realised that it was simply nut butter all along.

The recipe for the brown butter cake can be found here. It sounded easy enough - the only difficult part being browning the butter, but since the recipe started with "preheat the oven" I assumed it would not take very long. Wrong. It took about 30-40min. Of course I used a very low heat because I didn't want to burn the butter - maybe a second time I'd be braver and use a higher heat, but at least I got a good look at all the different stages of the browning butter.

Also, my freezer seems to be less cold than the average freezer, because instead of the indicated 15-30min it took the butter almost 1h to congeal again. Since I decided to bake the cake in a loaf pan instead of a baking tray of course the baking time doubled. Normally that wouldn't have been a problem but I had to catch a train to meet my friends and I ended up taking the cake out of the oven, putting it in a bag and leaving my flat 5min later. The whole tram and train smelled of cake. I thought it was lovely, but then i knew that I would get to taste the cake later on...
I served it with some store bought ice cream at my friends' place and the next day I had a slice with frozen cake filling that was left over when I made these cakes.

Can you see the little brown dots? That's the caramelized milk proteins from the nut butter.
This is a great cake. It tastes warm and nutty and of vanilla. It doesn't even need the ice cream - it's great just in itself. I'll definitely make that one again.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, this is "the" cake to bake for outing or gathering. Simple yet impressively delicious...

    Sawadee from bangkok,