Here it is, beautiful readers! My last installment in this week’s browned butter series. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week as much as I have!
Today’s offering is inspired by Kenny, a.k.a. my non sugar-craving half, who thinks all desserts are too rich. I love pound cake, but he has two bites and puts it aside. So I decided to halve the butter, brown it, and see what happens. Verdict? Success!
People forget how amazing half can be. Why do you think that combo meals with a cup of soup and half a sandwich are so appealing? Reducing something by half can open up options or completely reframe the way we look at the world. Imagine what life would be like if you always had to do everything wholly at one time. No dividing a project in half and doing the rest later, no eating half the brownie and saving the rest for tomorrow, no dressing partway in black and accenting with red shoes and a red jacket. You get the idea.
Restaurants should definitely serve half portions as a rule. Think how much more customers would be willing to try! You wouldn’t have to stare down a giant plate of pasta, wondering if it could feed a small family. Instead, you could have half of it, and maybe have room for dessert. As a rule of thumb, always save room for dessert! But you’re getting advice from a dessert blogger here.
As for pound cake, putting in a whole pound of butter is definitely called for sometimes, but to be honest, even half that amount still makes for a pretty rich cake. It’s still good for eating by itself, or cutting into chunks to dip in chocolate, or pairing with fruit. You won’t miss that half pound!
In fact, the full half pound isn’t all in the cake itself. You reserve a tablespoon of the browned butter and brush the top of the cake with both that and sugar while it’s baking. It’s pretty much the perfect finish for the cake.
To be honest, I might have let this go in the oven just a touch too long. My baking projects are usually punctuated with needy children, so I would advise you to keep a close eye on the cake. You want a toothpick to come out clean, but that’s it. Don’t wait for it to brown too much.
If we had a chance to do everything more halfway, some parts of life would suffer. But think about how much potential lies in half. After all, we can’t have everything!
Browned Butter Half-Pound Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk (I used two-percent)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to let it cook, swirling the butter often, until it becomes golden in color and fragrant (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from the heat.
- Combine the browned butter (reserve one tablespoon) and sugar, stirring until smooth. Add the eggs and lemon juice, and mix again. Add the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. Finally, add the milk and mix until the batter is without lumps.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Brush the remaining tablespoon of browned butter on top along with a sprinkling of sugar. Continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Cut into slices and serve. Store covered at room temperature for up to one week!