Brown Butter Layer Cake with Bourbon Buttercream

CAKEI’ve never been much of a cake person. Snack food is where it’s at for me. It just seems to call to me like raspberry jam oozing out of a fresh sugared doughnut. Irresistible. I can recall many occasions where I’ve been found in a food coma in front of my computer, drooling over someone else’s blog posts on cookies. And more than once have I gorged my way through an oriental snack selection for dinner. Doughnuts, biscuits, popcorn; you name it I’m there.

This is what I used to think anyway. Until this came along. I can’t officially retreat from the snack food club but I’m seriously considering a ‘we need space’ period and converting to the dark side. The dark side where 20 packets of butter for some delicious buttercream is completely acceptable. Health conscious readers, avert your eyes and calorie counters now.

Both brown Butter and Bourbon make desserts at least 30% better. And who do we have to thank for this ingenious pairing? The lovely blog Butter me up, Brooklyn. I’m sure most, if not all, of you would have heard of Lillie’s beautiful blog. If you haven’t, your really missing out. Its full of delicious recipes with simple but pretty pictures. I’m all for giving some serious blog lovin’ and I think Butter me up, Brooklyn deserves it.

So jump into those aprons, shuffle around your kitchen in the comfort of your slippers, eat the leftover cake batter and get covered in flour. After that, stand back and admire your masterpiece. Eat the first slice, savour the moist sponge and silky buttercream combo because the calories are so worth it.


Ingredients – Makes two 8-inch sponges (Recipe from Butter me up, Brooklyn)

Brown Butter Sponges

  • 407g cake flour (If you dont have cake flour, just sieve 385g flour with 58g cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 355 ml milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 226g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

Bourbon Buttercream

  • 452g unsalted butter, softened
  • 600g powdered sugar
  • 15 ml bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Butter two 8-inch cake tins and then generously flour ready for later.

First melt 113 g of butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally until a foam forms on top. Continue to cook the butter until the foam becomes an orange colour and the butter begins to blacken on the bottom of the pan. When the butter has darkened and smells nutty, pour it into a small bowl ready to freeze. Freeze for about 15 minutes, the butter should be beginning to set around the edges.

While your butter is cooling, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl (not the bowl you are going to make the batter in.) In another bowl or jug mix the milk, vanilla extract and the vanilla seeds.

Beat the remaining butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the chilled brown butter making sure to scrape the bowl clean to get all the flavour. Beat to incorporate. Add the sugar and beat again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry and wet ingredients in three additions, alternating between the two. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans. Tap the cake pans on the counter top to get any air bubble out.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Once baked, let the sponges cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. I made my sponges the night before I was going to assemble the cake and kept them wrapped in cling film overnight in the fridge. If you freeze or refrigerate the cakes and they feel slightly dry when you come to use them, brush them with some bourbon. You could make a sweet syrup with sugar, water and bourbon or just brush on equal parts bourbon to water.

Bourbon Buttercream

Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Beat the butter in a very large bowl to reduce mess! Do this until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, beating in well. Add the Bourbon, Vanilla and Salt and beat again until smooth and silky.


To Assemble the cake

Take your two sponges and slice each in half. Do this with a long serrated knife (a bread knife is good.) Go along the outside edge and just mark where you’re going to cut and then slice through the cake. If your cakes are slightly domed, now is the time to cut a bit of the top off to flatten them a bit.

Next, Place the bottom cake layer on your cake stand or cake board. If you’re doing this on a cake stand you may want to place some baking parchment around the edges of the cake so that the stand doesn’t get messy. Then layer the four layers with the Bourbon buttercream, one on top of the other.


Then mask the entire cake with buttercream. This layer can be thin and is just to smooth out the cake so don’t worry if some of the sponge still shows through. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Next mask the cake again with more buttercream. Take your time on this as this is the final layer. Then decorate as you desire!



Author: thegreedysprout

A plant and animal loving baker!

8 thoughts on “Brown Butter Layer Cake with Bourbon Buttercream”

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