Brown Butter Cake or Cupcakes

January 28, 2015
brown butter cupcakes

I’ve probably said this before, but I’ll say it again: Brown butter is a delicious secret that you need to know about. Did you know that if you were to heat butter over a stove for about 10 minutes, it magically becomes amber in color and takes on this lovely toffee-like aroma? Yeah. It basically becomes a game changer when you use it in any recipe calling for regular butter.

Which is essentially how I came up with this recipe. It’s just your basic cake recipe, only it uses browned butter instead of regular butter. That’s it!

Want to pair this with brown butter frosting? Click that link right there for the recipe.

brown butter cupcakesBrown Butter Cake Batter

Makes 12–14 cupcakes or just over enough batter for one 9″ round cake pan. (Note that a typical cake involves doubling the recipe and baking two pans’ worth of batter.)


1 2/3 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown butter*
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

* Note on browned butter: This is butter than has been heated over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, then left to set to be used as normal butter. It’s got a characteristic “nutty” aroma. Just be sure to start out with more butter than you’ll end up needing for the recipe—I’ve found that you end up with less butter than what you started with. Also, be sure to scrape up those dark bits at the bottom of the pan and include them in the butter you use for the batter. (For more tips, check out my blog post on browned butter.)

brown butter cupcakesMethod

If you haven’t already, you should check out my basic cake baking method and my list of cake baking tips! Every cake batter recipe I post follows that same method, and my cake baking tips are great tips to memorize for whenever you’re preparing a cake batter such as this.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter at a high speed, and gradually beat in the sugar. Then, beat in the egg whites.

Now you will gradually be adding the dry mixture and the milk to the butter-sugar-egg mixture. To do this, alternate mixing in some of the dry mixture, followed by some milk, followed by some dry mixture… You get the picture. Do that until you’ve incorporated the dry mixture and the milk completely. Just don’t over-mix here.

Finish by incorporating the vanilla.

Baking time! For cupcakes, fill your liners 2/3 full and bake for 17 to 22 minutes. For a cake, fill a greased 9-inch round cake pan about 2/3 full with batter and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test for perfect doneness.

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