Brown Butter Pound Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
Brown butter has the flavor and aroma of toasted hazelnuts, with a fuller, deeper flavor and color than plain butter. Here, it enriches a plush pound cake with a nuttiness that is complemented by a springtime compote.
For the pound cake:
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (5 oz./155 g) cake flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) plus 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the compote:
- 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar
- Kosher salt
- 8 oz. (250 g) rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices
- 2 pints (1 lb./500 g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 1/2 tsp. arrowroot or cornstarch
To make the pound cake, preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch (23-by-13-by-7.5-cm) loaf pan.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, swirling the pan often, until the butter is browned and smells nutty, 12 to 15 minutes. Strain the butter through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the whole eggs and egg yolks, 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) of the sugar and the vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, mixing until only a few streaks remain. Increase the speed to medium-low and drizzle in all but 2 Tbs. of the brown butter. Increase the speed to medium and beat until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake for 40 minutes, rotating it halfway through baking. Brush the top with the remaining brown butter and sprinkle with the 1 Tbs. sugar. Continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack, turn right side up and let cool completely.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 3 Tbs. of the orange juice, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, then add the rhubarb. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the strawberries and simmer until softened, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot and the remaining 1 Tbs. orange juice and stir into the rhubarb mixture. Let cool to room temperature.
Serve thick slices of the pound cake topped with the compote. Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013)