This bundt cake combines a lot of my favorite ingredients: brown butter, buttermilk and vanilla. The finished cake has a light and tender crumb with an almost pound cake-like texture, but full of nutty browned butter flavor and just the right touch of vanilla. It looks simple at first glance, but it is a cake that will win you over on first bite.
As you might guess, the cake starts with a generous amount of browned butter. I recommend taking your time and browning the butter relatively slowly over medium heat on the stovetop (even though it can be done in the microwave) because this is a relatively large amount of butter to brown and you don’t want to accidentally burn it while it cooks. Once the butter is golden brown and nutty, set it aside to cool and mix up the rest of the batter. I made the cake batter using one of my favorite techniques, where most of the fat is added at the end. This gives the cake a nice structure, but a very tender texture.
As with many of my bundt cake recipes, you’ll notice that I used a combination of butter and vegetable oil in this cake. Adding a little vegetable oil (and I always recommend a neutral oil, like canola) can help the cake to retain moisture even several days after baking. This extends the shelf life of the cake a little bit, in addition to making it even more moist when you cut that very first slice, so you can savor it over a longer period of time. The oil doesn’t take away from the browned butter, so don’t worry that you might be missing out!
I finished this cake with a brown butter and vanilla glaze that makes the cake even more addictive than it is on its own. The glaze would actually be delicious on top of almost any baked good, but works especially well here because it ensures that brown butter is the star of every bite.
Brown Butter Buttermilk Bundt Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9- or 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until it begins to turn golden brown and take on a nutty aroma, about 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until light. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour in browned butter and whisk until batter is smooth and uniform. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before topping with glaze (recipe below).
Vanilla Brown Butter Glaze
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
approx 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until it begins to turn golden brown and take on a nutty aroma, about 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool.
When the butter has cooled to room temperature, combine it with all the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. If frosting is too thin, whisk in a few additional tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle over cooled cake.