Vanilla Bean Cake with Browned Butter Icing
Once you consider the usual suspects like chocolate and pecans and cream cheese, one of my favorite baking components is browned butter. I am relatively new to baking with browned butter, and I admit that I am deeply saddened at all the time I missed baking with it. But, I seem to be making up for lost time with plenty of browned butter treats.
So, a few days ago when I was trying to think of a quick dessert we could enjoy this week, my mind went directly to browned butter. I also had a hankering for cake, so here we are.
The cake itself is a version of a sour cream cake that I use as a starting point for a lot of cake recipes. I bumped up the vanilla for a bigger flavor in a simple cake. Then, I topped it all of with a basic icing that I plied with browned butter and even more vanilla. The total package is a delicious cake whose flavors are somehow both understated and complex.
As delicious as this cake is, and believe me it is fabulous, I may be most taken with the appearance of the icing. Look at all those specks! Straining browned butter is a preference thing. I usually don’t strain it, but rather control how much of the browned specks stay with the butter as I pour it out of the saucepan. In addition to those lovely specks, there are vanilla bean specks, too. All of that makes for one beautiful icing.
I have a great love for simple, one-layer cakes. They’re essentially fail-proof. Plus, they’re a good option for a cake to serve a smaller number of people. If you’d like a big, tall cake, this recipe can easily be doubled to make a two-layer cake.