Brown butter caramel cake

Brown butter caramel cake

Deep South
Andy Sewell


Quantity Ingredient
400g can of condensed milk
225g unsalted butter
450g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
225ml milk
325ml plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the bourbon syrup:

Quantity Ingredient
50g caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons bourbon

For the caramel frosting:

Quantity Ingredient
1.35kg granulated sugar
540ml double cream
260g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
A pinch salt


  1. Put the unopened can of condensed milk in a large pan and cover completely with water. Simmer for 4 hours, topping up the water regularly so the can stays covered (be careful – if it boils dry, it is likely to explode). Leave to cool.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, then leave over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until it has turned a dark golden colour and smells of toasted nuts. Leave to cool and solidify.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the browned butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the milk and the condensed milk. Sift together the dry ingredients and fold them in.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold them into the mixture. Transfer to a buttered and floured 23cm round deep cake tin. Place in an oven heated to 180°C and bake for 45–50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the bourbon syrup, bring the sugar and water to the boil in a pan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Leave to cool, then stir in the bourbon.
  6. To make the caramel frosting, put 300g of the sugar in a large, heavy-based saucepan and set it over a low heat to melt. Combine the remaining sugar with the cream and butter in a separate pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, turn up the heat under the first pan once the sugar has melted and cook, without stirring, until it becomes an amber caramel. Pull the pan off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture; be careful because it will splutter dangerously. Return to the heat and simmer until it reaches 110°C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and salt, then leave to cool for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a freestanding electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 15–20 minutes, until it becomes a frosting consistency.
  7. Cut the cakes horizontally into 3 even disks and brush them with the bourbon syrup. Build alternating layers of cake and caramel frosting, beginning with cake and finishing on top and around the edges with the frosting. Keep in a cool place until ready to serve.
Southern cooking
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