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Brown butter cake with lemon curd and white chocolate cream

A simple butter cake gets a new lease on life with the addition of some gently browned butter plus a layer of lemon curd and white chocolate frosting in the centre.

  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 30 mins cooking plus cooling, setting
  • Serves 10
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Buttery cakes like this have a deliciously soft crumb with loads of flavour. White chocolate cream and lemon curd add a celebratory flourish.


  • 500 gm chilled unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 220 gm raw caster sugar (1 cup)
  • 160 gm floral honey
  • 6 eggs
  • 460 gm self-raising flour, sifted
  • 180 ml milk (¾ cup)
Lemon curd
  • 150 ml lemon juice (about 4 juicy lemons)
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150 gm golden caster sugar
  • 90 gm softened butter
  • 100 ml brown butter (from quantity above)
White chocolate cream
  • 400 gm white chocolate, finely chopped, or white chocolate buttons
  • 400 ml pouring cream
  • 300 gm crème fraîche, whisked to firm peaks (1¼ cups)


  • 1
    Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add butter and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until foaming and nut brown (5-7 minutes), then pour into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.
  • 2
    For lemon curd, whisk juice and rind, eggs, yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl to just combine, then place over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk occasionally until thickened (25-30 minutes). Cool briefly (10 minutes), then whisk in softened butter and brown butter. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until thick and chilled (3-4 hours). Lemon curd can be made a day ahead.
  • 3
    For white chocolate cream, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a rapid simmer in a saucepan, pour onto chocolate, stand for 5 minutes, then stir to combine. Cover and place in the freezer to cool (20-30 minutes). Transfer to an electric mixer and whisk until thick, then cover and refrigerate to set (at least 4 hours or overnight). Fold crème fraîche into chocolate mixture just before icing cake.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 150C, and butter two 20cm-diameter cake tins and line with baking paper. Beat 300gm brown butter (you may have a little left over), sugar, honey and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in flour and milk in batches. Divide batter among tins, tap to spread evenly, then bake, swapping tins during cooking, until golden brown and centres spring back when gently pressed (55 minutes; cover cakes with foil if they brown too quickly). Rest in tins for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely (30 minutes).
  • 5
    To assemble, spread a thick layer of lemon curd over one cake, then a thick layer of white chocolate cream. Sandwich with remaining cake, then ice top and sides of cake with remaining white chocolate cream, ideally 30 minutes before serving so it can set a little. This cake is best eaten the day it's made.


Drink Suggestion: Malty Rutherglen topaque. Drink suggestion by Max Allen