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slice of brown butter cake with vanilla bean buttercream on a black plate

Brown Butter Cake

This brown butter cake is light, fluffy, super moist and oh so delicious. Brown butter is my favorite way to add a warm and toasty flavor to my baked goodies. Those little brown specs are like gold!
4.99 from 65 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 350kcal


  • 14 ounces (396 g) cake flour
  • 8 ounces (227 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces (113 g) brown sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces (284 g) buttermilk warmed, and divided
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 8 ounces (227 g) browned butter room temperature
  • 4 ounces (113 g) oil


  • Stand Mixer
  • Paddle Attachment
  • Whisk Attachment


  • IMPORTANT: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temp and you're using a scale to measure. Substituting ingredients may cause the recipe to fail. (see notes at the bottom of the recipe)
  • Heat oven to 335º F - Prepare three 6"x2" cake pans (or two 8"x6" cake pans) with cake goop or another preferred pan release -
  • Measure out 4 ounces of your buttermilk into a separate container. Add in your vegetable oil and set aside. (if doubling our tripling your recipe, remember to adjust this amount as well)
  • Combine the remaining buttermilk with your vanilla and eggs. Whisk lightly and set aside.
  • Measure out the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and place them into the stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment.
  • Turn the mixer on the slowest speed (setting 1 on Kitchen Aid mixers). Add in your browned butter to the flour mixture. Let mix until batter resembles coarse sand.
  • Add your buttermilk and oil to the flour mixture.
  • Increase mixing speed to medium (setting 4 on Kitchen Aid mixer) and mix for 2 full minutes. Let the mixture whip up until it has thickened and lightened in color. It should look like soft-serve ice cream. If you do not let the batter mix fully, you will end up with very short, crumbly cakes that do not rise.
  • Scrape the bowl. This is an important step. If you skip it, you will have hard lumps of flour and unmixed ingredients in your batter. If you do it later, they will not mix in fully.
  • Add your egg mixture in three parts, letting the eggs incorporate for 5-10 seconds between additions. Scrape the bowl halfway through.
  • If your batter is curdled and broken at this point, your milk/eggs where too cold and your cake may not rise.
  • Divide your cake batter between your pans. I weigh my pans to make sure there is the same amount of batter in each pan.
  • Bake for a minimum of 30 minutes before you check for doneness. Remember, bigger pans take longer to bake than smaller pans. I use a baking core for pans over 12". Cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean or the tops spring back when you lightly touch them.
  • After cakes have cooled for 10 minutes or the pans are cool enough to touch, flip the cakes over onto cooling racks to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator or freeze for one hour to speed up cooling.
  • Frost and decorate as desired


Important Things To Note Before You Start
1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. 
5. If the recipe calls for specific ingredients like cake flour, replacing it with all purpose flour and cornstarch is not recommended unless specified in the recipe that it’s ok. Substituting ingredients may cause this recipe to fail. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 350kcal (18%) | Carbohydrates: 54g (18%) | Protein: 7g (14%) | Fat: 12g (18%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Cholesterol: 55mg (18%) | Sodium: 334mg (14%) | Potassium: 131mg (4%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 29g (32%) | Vitamin A: 116IU (2%) | Calcium: 62mg (6%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)