Brown Butter and Bourbon Vanilla Cake

This cake is the tastier, grown-up version of the classic vanilla cake. It's one of my favorites!
Brown Butter and Bourbon Vanilla Cake

The brown butter gives the cake a wonderful nuttiness and richness of flavor, combined with vanilla and bourbon it is just so good – you’ll want to make it again and again.


Start by browning butter. I used to think butter couldn’t get any better – and then I started browning it. I can’t explain how much more delicious it is, so please take my word for it. To brown butter, cut your butter into slices so it can melt quickly and evenly. A good trick is to use a light colored pan so you can see when your butter begins to change color. The butter will melt and begin to foam, this can take 2-5 minutes on a medium low heat. Once the butter is foamy, you are about 1-3 minutes away from brown butter-y goodness. You will be able to smell it as it browns and you’ll see little brown specs at the bottom. The brown specs are the milk solids which you’ve just cooked. Take it out of the pan and put it into a dish to cool. The brown bits will settle at the bottom so make sure you scrape them out before making the cake. I like to make my browned butter ahead of time and let it start to solidify again before using it. Don’t use completely melted butter to make the cake.

In terms of the other ingredients, you can use any kind of Bourbon you like and you can vary the amount if you like your cake a little less boozy. The bourbon will cook out during the baking of the cake and leave behind the caramel notes you find in bourbon. I love using a vanilla bean but good vanilla extract is fine too!DSC02128

Brown Butter and Bourbon Vanilla Cake Recipe:

This recipe makes one 9′ inch or 12 cupcakes. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. In a small bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. In a large bowl, by hand or in a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. You should be able to see little specs of the brown butter running throughout.DSC01887
  3. Add in eggs one at time. Make sure everything is combined, add in the vanilla.
  4. Add half the flour mixture, followed by the milk and then the other half of the flour.
  5. Stir in the Bourbon.
  6. Bake for 27-32 minutes.DSC01901

To Frost the cake I used a cream cheese frosting and then drizzled on some caramel. Yum!