Butter and bourbon baked in a cake—absolutely.
For the Cake
3 1/2 cups cake flour (see note)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, stirring constantly until it begins to foam. Continue to cook and stir until the foam subsides and milk solids begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan and turn down the heat if things start to get too toasty. When the butter has deepened in color and smells nutty, turn off the heat and pour the butter into a small freezer-safe bowl. You should have about 1/3 cup of brown butter. Freeze for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the butter start to solidify.
While the butter is chilling, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a liquid measuring cup stir together milk, vanilla extract and the vanilla seeds. Set both aside.
Beat the remaining stick of butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the chilled brown butter, being sure to scrape the bowl so all the toasty bits of flavor that tend to settle to the bottom are included, and beat until incorporated. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the dry ingredients and the vanilla/milk mixture in three alternating additions, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as necessary. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and carefully but firmly tap each pan on your counter top. This makes sure that there are as few air bubbles as possible as the cake bakes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When your cake is fully cooled, frost with one batch of bourbon buttercream.
Note: Don’t have cake flour on hand? Make your own by sifting together 3 cups + 1 tablespoon (385 grams) all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (58 grams) cornstarch and voilà you have 3 1/2 cups of homemade cake flour!
Makes two 8-inch layers.
For the Bourbon Buttercream
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. bourbon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Beat butter in an extra-large bowl until light and creamy, or about two minutes. Add the sifted powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the bourbon, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth and spreadable, or about one minute more.
Lillie Auld, buttermeupbrooklyn.com