Brown Butter Spice Cake with Whipped Icing
Brown Butter Spice Cake with Whipped Icing

Brown Butter Spice Cake with Whipped Icing

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, adapted from Food and Wine and Tasty Kitchen
Yield: 9-12 servings

The flavor of this brown butter spice cake is perfect for autumn, but the texture really steals the show. The cake is so light, fluffy, and moist! This cake is perfect for your holiday table, but is easy enough to be a quick weeknight dessert. Enjoy!

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup butter
1 2/3 cups cake flour
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Whipped Icing Ingredients:
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons plus 2 1/4 teaspoons flour
1 scant cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

Brown the butter and bloom the spices: Measure the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice out into one small prep bowl so they’re ready. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium-high, swirling the butter as it browns. When it’s brown (but before it burns — don’t take your eyes off of it!), remove it from the heat and add in the spices, swirling to mix. Pour the spiced butter out into a shallow dish and stick it in the freezer to cool and re-solidify. When it’s solid again in about 20-30 minutes, set it out to come to room temperature.

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare an 8-inch square baking pan (I brush the pan with Wilton’s Cake Release and place a square of greased parchment in the bottom to ensure the cake will come out clean.)

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate large bowl, cream the softened spiced butter and brown sugar together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. While mixing, add the vegetable oil in a steady stream. Add the 3 eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the cake, mixing after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake about 35-38 minutes or until the top springs back when touched. Set the cake on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a square platter to finish cooling. As soon as you set your cake aside to cool, start the frosting.

Make the frosting: Heat the milk, flour, and granulated sugar together over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture starts to boil, continue whisking and heating it for around 4-5 minutes or until it’s very thick, like cake batter consistency. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Scrape the mixture out into a shallow pan and let it cool completely (it’s very important that it’s completely cool, or your frosting will be runny. I let the frosting mixture and the cake both cool for at least 2 hours.)

Once the mixture is cool, beat the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture and beat on high until you have fluffy frosting (this takes several minutes, so be patient). Frost your completely cooled cake and top with a pretty sprinkling of cinnamon.

23 Comments on Brown Butter Spice Cake with Whipped Icing

  1. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes
    October 20, 2014 at 12:56 am (9 years ago)

    I actually bought cheap but very good tasting goat cheese there recently! I love Aldi – I always get good deals there. I need this cake!!

    • Julie Ruble
      October 20, 2014 at 12:58 am (9 years ago)

      I think I saw that goat cheese, Ashley! I wish I’d bought it. I saw some apple cinnamon goat cheese there the other day that looked really good.

  2. Joelen
    October 20, 2014 at 12:56 am (9 years ago)

    I used to shop ALDI more often when lived in the city and it was closer… and now that we have one nearby in the suburbs, I forget to take advantage of the great price savings! Your cake looks delicious and you’ve inspired me to stock up on some pantry staples this week at ALDI 🙂

    • Julie Ruble
      October 20, 2014 at 12:59 am (9 years ago)

      Aw, thanks Joelen! I was glad to see how many of my basic, everyday groceries I could buy there!

  3. Carol
    October 20, 2014 at 1:03 am (9 years ago)

    There’s something perfect about spice cakes in Fall…..and with browned butter also? Definitely on the list.

    The ALDIs would be awesome, but there isn’t one in my area. Nice videos, though. = )

    As for the budget….food is always one of the areas easiest to cut. Fortunately, I have been poor most of my life, so my repertoire with lentils, rice, beans, legumes, potatoes and pastas is extensive. The territory I am in now as an unemployed (apparently unemployable) widow would be tragic if it weren’t so familiar. I once read that anyone can make a great meal from great ingredients, but it requires a true chef to make a great meal from nothing. It reminded me of the childrens’ story STONE SOUP.

    I’ll pray for you, and I encourage you.

    • Julie Ruble
      October 20, 2014 at 1:06 am (9 years ago)

      I love Stone Soup! What a sweet book. I know just what you mean about lentils, rice, and beans! Thankfully we’re a little better off together than I was when I was single, but I know that so-poor-that-taco-bell-tacos-are-a-luxury kind of space. Mike is a pro at cooking and eating lentils, thankfully for our budget! And really I’m being whiny, because clearly we have enough to eat out on occasion and such right now.

      How are you managing, Carol? Do your kids help you?

  4. Kristen
    October 20, 2014 at 7:27 am (9 years ago)

    I love Aldi but especially love their prices on gourmet type cheese and wine!!
    Your video is too cute (and very informative!)

  5. Susan
    October 20, 2014 at 7:37 am (9 years ago)

    Oh how I wish we had an Aldi market somewhere even a couple of hours from us (I could then bulk shop when we were in the area). The closest Aldi to us is just over 222 miles away in NH. With only one supermarket in our little town, there is no competition and the prices are quite high. Folks around here call the Hannaford the Cantafford. 🙂 We’re blessed to be able to afford good food and to be able to stock up when things are deeply discounted. I do miss Aldis!

  6. Brian @ A Thought For Food
    October 20, 2014 at 9:29 am (9 years ago)

    I’m so glad this cake isn’t in my house right now because I would be hovered over it with a knife, making little slices and then eating it with my hands.

  7. Karly
    October 20, 2014 at 11:37 am (9 years ago)

    Love this cake, love Aldi’s, love your face, and love this recipe. I think that covers it all.

  8. Aimee @ ShugarySweets
    October 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh how lovely is this cake!!! PS You’re so adorable 🙂

  9. Carla
    October 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm (9 years ago)

    Ha I just shopped at Aldi yesterday to restock on groceries. I’ve been going to them for years, especially during college when I had no money 😉 Since I moved, I am now only 10 minutes away from Aldi. A little dangerous if you ask me!

  10. Jennifer | Bake or Break
    October 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm (9 years ago)

    Your cake looks delicious, Julie! I’ve never shopped at Aldi. I don’t think there’s one reasonably close to me. Sounds like I’m missing out!

  11. Valarie
    October 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm (9 years ago)

    Love shopping at Aldi’s some favs to purchase there:
    always baking staples
    love their savings and love your blog!

  12. Trudy
    October 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm (9 years ago)

    I have never shopped there but I’ve heard great things about them. My BFF has been recommending them to me for ages. The nearest one was an hour away so I haven’t made it yet, yikes! Good news: one just opened up in town so I’ll definitely go soon. While I visited her a few months ago she had some animal crackers for her son. I loved those! Best animal crackers ever hands down! (Look at me stealing cookies from a baby). That’s definitely on my list.
    I also tried the recipe. It was wonderful! Put it this way, I made 6 cupcakes and an 8″round cake. By the time I whipped up the icing I had just two cupcakes to frost. I guess I’ll have to make some more–what else can I do with that icing?!

  13. Jeni
    October 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks absolutely divine! The perfect treat to make this weekend!

  14. natalie@thesweetslife
    October 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm (9 years ago)

    Aldi is seriously fantastic–for staples, but also for all of their special items…and I swear they get new stuff all the time (like whole wheat flour! and pumpkin seed tortilla chips!). I can’t shop regularly at a “normal” grocery store anymore knowing other inexpensive options exist!

  15. amanda
    November 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm (9 years ago)

    Well yeah. Ever sinceni was a kid. Its why mom carries two srtsnof keys and why i do now that im older. Lol.

  16. ashlea
    October 22, 2015 at 7:39 pm (8 years ago)

    Do you think this can be made into a layered cake? Maybe an 8 inch round?

  17. Linda Turske
    November 21, 2016 at 7:32 am (7 years ago)

    All of my monthly shopping is done at aldi. I only buy elsewhere on the few items I cannot get at Aldi. I don’t purchase much meat there but only because I purchase sides of beef from a local farm each year and I raise my own broiler chickens.

    I started shopping there 23 years ago while in maternity leave. .. there is no way I could have fed my family of 7 through the years without Aldi….


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