Brown Butter Pound Cake

November 9, 2009


Celebrate life! Try this pound cake recipe with a twist,

compliments of Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets.

Happy entertaining!


When I am at a loss for what to make for dessert I often turn to pound cake. This crowd-pleasing classic can be dressed up with glazes or frostings, or topped with fruit, ice cream, lemon curd, chocolate sauce or whipped cream. I’ve even cut plain slices into fingers and served them on a cheese platter.

I made this cake on the day I heard my beloved Gourmet magazine was folding. I have been a subscriber for almost 30 years and will miss it terribly. The recipe is from their October 2009 issue and was developed by Paul Grimes. I had the pleasure of working with Paul before he joined the staff at Gourmet, when I was creative director of Food & Wine and he was a freelance food stylist.

I added frosting, but this wonderful cake is delicious just plain.


Makes one (8 ½ by 4 ½) inch loaf

2 ¼ sticks unsalted butter

2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in middle. Butter and lightly flour an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  2. Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until milk solids on bottom are a dark chocolate brown. Transfer to a shallow bowl and chill in freezer until just congealed, about 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Beat together brown butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated.
  5. Transfer batter to pan, smoothing top, then rap pan on counter to settle batter. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 ¼ hours. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then invert cake onto a rack and cool completely, right side up, 1 hour.


Using an electric mixer, beat one 8-ounce package of room-temperature cream cheese and ½ stick of room-temperature unsalted butter until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, beat in 1 cup confectioners’ sugar a few tablespoons at a time, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional); increase speed to high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before using. Makes about 1½ cups.




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