The Best Brown Butter Cake

October 14, 2022

Dive into tender and flavorful brown butter cake layers and brown butter buttercream with my new Brown Butter Cake.

Brown Butter Cake on a light pink cake stand.
Table of Contents
  1. Brown Butter Cake
  2. Brown Butter Buttercream
  3. Brown Butter Cake Recipe

Brown Butter Cake

This Brown Butter Cake recipe is LONG overdue. It’s been on my list to-make forever, but always gets trumped by slightly more exciting cakes. But here’s the thing, classic, simple cakes like brown butter cakes with brown butter frosting are just as exciting. I just sometimes forget that 😉

Cake on a cake stand.

You are going to love this light, fluffy, and ultra moist Brown Butter Cake. Browning the butter gives the cake and buttercream a warm, slightly nutty flavor. It’s perfect for fall!

You’ll also love how well brown butter pairs with other flavors. Feel free to mix things up and use these cake layers with another buttercream flavor or use this buttercream recipe with another cake recipe.

Cakes and Buttercreams You’ll Love with Brown Butter

Trust me on the chocolate option – it’s delicious with brown butter! If you go with a caramel option, I love these caramel chips for a caramel drip.

Close up of a cake on a cake stand.
How to Brown Butter

To brown butter for this recipe, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  • Cut your butter into cubes: this allows the butter to cook evenly.
  • Cook the butter over medium-low heat: it’s better to cook the butter on a lower heat, which will take a little longer, but this ensures you get a golden brown color and don’t burn the butter.
  • Stir the butter occasionally as it cooks: you’ll notice the butter starts to foam and it kind of creates a fog over the butter. Stirring not only helps the butter cook evenly, but it also gives you a glimpse and what’s happening under the foam.
  • Cook the butter until you see golden brown flecks and smell a slightly nutty aroma.
  • Transfer the butter to a heat-proof bowl to cool: refrigerate the butter to solidify it again.
  • For the cake batter, you still want soft, room-temperature butter.
  • For the buttercream, you still want slightly cold butter.
Slice of cake on a plate.

Brown Butter Buttercream

With your brown butter already made and set, you’re ready to make the brown butter buttercream. This process will be exactly like my vanilla buttercream recipe. It’s easy and it’s delicious. You can’t go wrong!

Cake slice on a plate.
How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting

To get this delicious buttercream, make sure you follow my tips: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM.

  • Sift your powdered sugar
  • Use slightly cold butter
  • Use heavy whipping cream
  • Beat for 5 minutes
  • Stir by hand

You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step to make sure you get the best buttercream frosting. And remember, these steps can be used for any buttercream recipe on my blog.

More Cakes to Love

Brown Butter Cake on a light pink cake stand.

Brown Butter Cake

4.89 from 27 votes
Tender, flavorful and moist brown butter cake layers with silky smooth brown butter buttercream.
Servings 20 people



  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature and browned (see instructions in blog post)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (165 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. (13 g) vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. (10 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. (5 g) salt
  • 1 cup ( 225 g) buttermilk, room temperature


  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slighly cold, browned (see instructioned above)
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy cream, cold
  • 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.



  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown butter and the sugars for about 3 minutes on medium-high speed.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and begin to add the eggs on medium speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between addition, continue beating on medium-high speed until the texture is smooth and the volume is nearly doubled, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla bean paste or extract and beat until incorporated.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ of the buttermilk. Repeat the additions, ⅓ flour mixture, second half of the buttermilk and the final ⅓ flour mixture. Only mix until the flour mixture is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for another 20 to 30 seconds on low.
  • Divide the cake batter into each of the two 8-inch cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Let cool in the pans for about 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. (Tip: spray your wire cooling racks with nonstick spray).


  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy and pale in color.
  • With the mixer on slow, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, vanilla, and pinch of salt.
  • Once all of the ingredients are combined, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a couple minutes more.
  • Before using the buttercream, make sure to beat it by hand with a wooden spoon or large spatula to help push out the air pockets.


  • Place the first cake layer top side up, in the center of the cake board.
  • Spread about 1 cup of the the buttercream over the cake layer.
  • Place the second cake layer on top of the buttercream, top side down, and apply a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes. This is your crumb coat.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • Optional: use the Wilton 1M piping tip to create design around the top edge and bottom edge of the cake.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: brown butter, brown butter buttercream, Brown Butter Cake, Brown Butter Frosting

Join the Conversation

  1. I’m excited to make this. How far in advance can I bake and frost the cake before serving??? Thanks!!

    1. You can do it several days in advance – just make sure you cover it completely and freeze it to keep it fresh. Then, make sure to give the cake time to get to room temperature before serving.

  2. Rachel Nicholson says:

    4 stars
    I just made this and it is divine. But, my cake is pretty crumbly. Any thoughts? Thank you!!

    1. It might have been overcooked!

  3. Lisa Gilbert says:

    5 stars
    Just made this today and couldn’t stop eating the icing 🤗. Love it!

  4. Sarah Bullock says:

    I’m so excited to try this!!! This recipe says 1 cup (360 g) buttermilk, but 360g of buttermilk is 1.5 cups based on your red velvet and white cake recipe. How much should I use here?

    1. I’d love to know as well 🙂 1 cup of buttermilk is 240g so wondering which to go with -240g or 360g. Thanks!

  5. I’m excited about making the brown butter cake for the 1st time, my question is am I browning the butter for the cake and frosting just once or am I doing two separate browning butter, one for the cake, one for the frosting

    1. You’ll need to brown butter for the cake and again for the buttercream. You can do it all at once and measure it out again when you’re done, or I liked to do it separately.

  6. can I use a boxed cake mix? If so how would I change the recipe?

    1. Not for this recipe. Sorry.

  7. 3 stars
    Mine turned out very dry, so sad! It was for my Dad’s 92nd birthday. Frosting was to die for though! So delicious. The cakes did have a few moist crumbs on the toothpick when I pulled them out of the oven but I am wondering if I browned the butter a bit too long for the cake. It was more of a dark brown than golden brown. I ended up repurposing the frosted cake for a cake pop project.

    1. Glad you were able to use the cake in a new way. Yes, I’d try cooking the butter for a little less time and baking for a couple minutes less too.

  8. Ayana Owens says:

    How many 6 inch pans would this recipe fill? I plan on making it for my daughter’s birthday!

    1. 4 6-inch pans

  9. Katerina Staten says:

    Hello! I just made this cake. I noticed an that is calls for 1 cup of buttermilk or 360 grams. Isn’t 1 cup 240 grams? And 360 grams is 1.5 cups? I used 360 grams, like it stated, and it turned out great. I just thought I would let you know it was inconsistent.
    Thank you for awesome recipes!

    1. I’ll fix that!

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