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Brown-Butter Almond Cake

Scott Phillips

Servings: twelve to fourteen.

To really turn this cake into a stellar dessert, serve it with Roasted Pears with Caramel Sauce.


  • 5 oz. (1 cup) whole almonds
  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3-3/4 oz. (1 cup) cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch table salt
  • 2 Tbs. dark rum
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 9 large egg whites, ideally at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on 14 servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 280
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 140
  • Fat (g): 15
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 120
  • Carbohydrates (g): 30
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 5


  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment or waxed paper.
  • Spread the whole almonds on a baking sheet and heat them in-the oven, shaking the pan every couple of minutes, until lightly toasted and aromatic, 5 to 9 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and then continue to cook it for 5 to 7 minutes. Watch it carefully and when you see brown flecks in the bottom of the pan, immediately pour the butter into a medium bowl, scraping the pan with a spatula to get all the flecks. Set aside to let cool slightly.
  • In a food processor, pulse the whole almonds and 3/4 cup of the sugar until finely ground. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Stir the rum, vanilla extract, and sour cream into the browned butter.
  • Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites in a large, clean, dry bowl, beginning on low speed until they start to foam. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the whites barely hold peaks. Beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a very slow, steady stream; continue beating the whites until they hold soft peaks.
  • Scoop a large dollop of the egg whites into the butter mixture and stir it in. Gently fold half of the almond mixture into the remaining egg whites and then half of the butter mixture into the egg whites. Repeat, ending with the butter mixture.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and give the pan a quick spin to even out the batter. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Bake in the middle rack of the oven until well risen and golden, 45 to 50 minutes. The center of the cake should spring back when pressed lightly.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack until warm to the touch, about 30-minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and carefully flip the cake onto the rack to release it from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Gently flip the cake again onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make this cake ahead and store it in the freezer in a double layer of plastic wrap for up to four weeks. To defrost the cake, unwrap it, set it on a rack, cover it loosely with a towel, and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • nk36 | 10/31/2016

    Delicious! When it comes to beaten egg whites I always worry about over- or under-beating them but fortunately this time it worked perfectly (probably the added sugar helped). Served w/ whipped cream but would like to try the pears too, seems like this cake would work very well with them.

  • jonesli | 02/14/2010

    This cake was delicious and very had a wonderfully complex flavor. It was fantastic with coffee, but I think it does need the caramel sauce and pears (which I didn't make) so that it doesn't get boring after the first few bites.

  • sfcookiegirl | 12/05/2007

    I have made this cake several times and it is wonderful. Very light and moist and flavorful. Quite easy to make. I do use a little less rum than the recipe calls for. I have never made the caramel sauce, as I find the cake nicely sweet already and think the caramel would make it too sweet.

  • emcooks | 09/27/2007

    I served this cake at my monthly cooking club and it was a huge hit. I served this with the Roasted Pears with Caramel Sauce (see recipe on this site) which really elevated this dessert to an elegant way to end a meal. The sweetness of the cake really plays well with the slight tartness of the roasted pears. Very delicious.

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