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Brown Butter Zucchini Cake with salted caramel

Brown Butter Zucchini Cake

Like zucchini bread, but better! This brown butter zucchini cake is moist and super flavorful. It is paired with a simple cream cheese frosting sweetened with homemade salted caramel.
Yield: three layered 6-inch cake
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Assembly Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown butter zucchini, zucchini cake, zucchini layer cake, cream cheese frosting
Servings: 10
Author: Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar packed
  • 4 large eggs room temp
  • 1 pound shredded zucchini about 3 cups packed

Whipped Salted Caramel:

  • ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup heavy cream heated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter softened, cut into tablespoons

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • whipped salted caramel
  • 2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • pinch kosher salt

Instructions

Cake:

  • Place butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pot.  Melt butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, continue to cook over medium low heat until butter has browned and is fragrant.
  • During this cooking process, the butter will foam up.  Swirl the pan occasionally to check for doneness.  Carefully watch the butter because it can quickly burn and blacken.  When it is done it will smell nutty.  Pour the brown butter into another container and allow it to cool down. (If you want to speed up the process, let it chill in the fridge for 10 minutes or freezer for 5 minutes.)
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter three 6-inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.  Set side.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream cooled brown butter with sugar and brown sugar.  Mix until sugar is thoroughly moistened.  Add eggs one at a time and continue to mix on low.
  • Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  Scrape down down as needed to ensure thorough mixing.
  • Add shredded zucchini and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Divide cake batter between the three prepared cake pans.  Level out batter using the back of spoon or a mini offset spatula.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Let cool for 5-8 minutes before molding.  Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Whipped Salted Caramel:

  • Using a heavy bottomed sauce pot, heat sugar and water on high heat.  Let sugar melt.  Do not stir or agitate mixture to prevent unwanted crystallization.
  • Lower heat and allow sugar syrup to color.  Remove from heat one syrup is aromatic and amber in color.
  • Warm up heavy cream in the microwave for 45 seconds.  Add about ⅓ of warm cream to sugar syrup and whisk.  BE VERY CAREFUL.  The mixture will bubble and steam vigorously.  Add remaining warm cream and continue to whisk until mixture has slightly cooled.
  • Add butter and salt.  Whisk until mixture is homogenized.  Let cool to room temperature.  Reserve about ½ cup of caramel.  Transfer remaining cooled caramel to the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment.
  • Whip caramel on medium speed for 5-10 minutes until caramel has thickened to the consistency of buttercream and is much lightly in color.  Set aside until ready for frosting.

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Scrape down bowl as needed.
  • Add whipped caramel.  Mix to combine.  Add powdered sugar and salt.  Mix until smooth.
  • Using reserved caramel to drizzle on top of finished cake.

Notes

Note: If you are not up to making caramel, high quality store bought caramel can be used in it's place.  Adjust the amount caramel used in the frosting according to your taste.