The making of this cinnamon sponge cake has taught me several things:
1. Brown butter frosting is pretty much the best thing ever
2. Autumnal flavours make for amazing cakes
3. Trying to smooth frosting over a cake with no gaps is virtually impossible and has confirmed that bake off is most definitely not in my future!
This bake was initially going to be a cinnamon bundt cake, until I realised point 1 above and decided it would be a travesty for that frosting to be restricted to a meagre glaze. Full on thick, creamy frosting is exactly what this cake needs.
If you’ve never cooked or baked with brown butter before, get on it immediatley (seriously, go!). If you’ve no idea what I’m on about, brown butter is just regular butter cooked in a pan until it starts to brown.
There’s nothing complicated about browning butter, but this simple process lends a sweet, nutty flavour to the butter that makes it amazing for anything from frying gnocchi to frosting a cake.
Paired with the warming spice of cinnamon, brown butter frosting provides a perfect balance of flavours: not too sweet, not too heavy. This really is autumn flavours at their absolute best and is perfect with a steaming hot mug of tea!
- 300g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 and a 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 300g butter, softened
- 250g light brown sugar
- 50ml maple syrup
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 300g unsalted butter
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease two 9 inch round cake tins. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon to a bowl and mix.
- In a separate large bowl beat the softened butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar a little at a time and continue beating until light and fluffy.
- Add the maple syrup and about a third of the egg mixture, along with around a third of the dry ingredients. Gently fold in. Repeat until all the flour and eggs have been folded in.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a cake rack.
- To make the frosting, start by browning the butter. Cook the butter in a frying pan over a medium pan. Once it starts to froth, cook for another 5 minutes or so until the butter turns brown and begins to smell nutty.
- If you prefer a smoother looking frosting, pass the melted butter through a fine mesh strainer then allow to cool. Otherwise, just set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Once the browned butter is no longer liquid, but is still soft, whisk together until smooth.Gradually beat in the icing sugar, a bit at a time. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, if the frosting becomes too thick.