Pipe Dream #60: To Bake In Large Quantity – Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Browned Butter Glaze

Oh but these are yummy. It is highly appropriate that I only have one picture of these delectable delights to share with you. It is representative of the fact that whenever I make these, they’re gone within 24 hours. Gone to stomachs like yours around the world and also mine.

Let’s start with the brown sugar pound cake. Delectably moist. And the moisture in the brown sugar ensures that they stay that way. And it’s pound cake. Need I say more?

Then the icing. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced browned butter, but I highly recommend it. You just have to heat it up in a saucepan until it starts to look a bit brown. Why mess with a good thing, you ask? After all, we know that regular butter is fabulous.

Survey says: We are not afraid to brown butter because butter can’t possibly get worse, regardless of what you do to it. I am now going to use another highly irrelevant analogy. Butter is like lampreys or bot flies. There are few things in this world that could make it worse. Except butter is good, not parasitic.

Bonus, these cupcakes are really easy. They work well for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, supper and late-night snack. I can testify.

This recipe also brings to my attention something you may have been wondering about. A lot of the cake recipes I post include buttermilk. It seems like such a finnicky thing to buy, especially if I don’t know when I’m going to use it all. Instead of buying it from the store, I usually make my own buttermilk.

It’s super simple, and has always worked just fine in my recipes. Either that, or I don’t know enough about baking to know if my lack of store-bought buttermilk was the singular source of my extensive collection of spectacular fails. Here is the procedure:

1) Put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl.

2) Measure in 1 cup of regular milk.

3) Let stand for 5 minutes.

Here’s wishing happy eating for six meals straight,


Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Brown Butter Glaze

adapted from Martha Stewart

For the cupcakes:

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

To make the glaze:

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind.

Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter, and stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more milk. Use immediately. Sometimes when I use brown butter glazes, I find that the butter separates out a little bit. I don’t know why this is. Sorry.

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