The brown butter is really the hero of this dish so it’s imperative you get the butter as brown as can be without burning it. This can be achieved by using a high heat on the stove and then physically removing the pan from the heat as it bubbles. Keep repeating this until you have a golden-brown colour. The residual heat in the pan will darken the butter even as you take it off the stove, so make sure you keep an eye on this as you want brown butter, not burnt!
This is a perfect example of how a simple classic can inspire anyone to bake - and if you don't have a bundt tin, you can make this as a lovely loaf cake instead.
- 185 g unsalted butter
- 335 g plain flour, sifted
- 1½ tsp baking powder, sifted
- 210 g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 180 ml buttermilk
- Icing sugar, sifted, for dusting
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Generously grease a classic-sized bundt tin (see Note) with butter and ﬂour, or use non-stick cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foamy and turning amber in colour, stirring occasionally. Ensure that you keep an eye on the pan as it only takes a few seconds to burn the butter. Once browned, pour the butter into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
3. Whisk together the ﬂour and baking powder in a small bowl. Pour the browned butter (including the brown specks at the bottom of the pan, which are the milk solids that have separated) and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer ﬁtted with the whisk attachment and beat until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and buttermilk and beat until just combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Pour the batter into the bundt tin.
4. Cook for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the tin, then dust with icing sugar and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days.
• The common bundt cake tin size is 8-10 cup in capacity.
• You can, of course, make any of my bundt cakes in a 20 cm springform tin instead, though they won’t be as visually striking. You can also make this cake in a 22 cm x 11 cm x 7 cm loaf tin.
• You can ﬁnd some extraordinary bundt tins online. These tins are non-stick, distribute heat quickly and bake evenly. The trick here is that you need to grease your tin generously. You can use a pastry brush and softened (room temperature) butter to grease your bundt tins, then lightly sprinkle with ﬂour, tipping out any excess before ﬁlling with batter. You can also use a non-stick cooking spray, such as canola spray, which is incredibly effective and my preferred method. For the more intricate tin designs I recommend doubling up and using both techniques.
• Also, and most importantly, allow your bundt cake to cool completely in the tin before tipping it out. I always say a little prayer to the baking gods and give the tin a gentle tap all over before lifting the tin away from the cake.
Recipe and image from Just Desserts by Charlotte Ree, Published by Plum, RRP $29.99. Photography by Luisa Brimble, Styling by Lee Blaylock.