I tried making brown butter pound cake a couple weeks ago and ruined it by overbaking it. Despite the the need to drink an entire glass of milk with each bite, Dennis and I couldn’t resist having several slices because of the wonderful brown butter flavor. (If you’ve ever had browned butter in a dessert, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t–then you haven’t fully lived!)
While the remainder of the pound cake lies in the freezer, awaiting it’s transformation into a creative bread pudding, I found the link to a similar recipe waiting for me in my inbox yesterday, compliments of my good friend, Krista. The recipe is, in fact, based upon that brown butter pound cake, but with the addition of pumpkin and dulce de leche.
Krista knows me too well. Cake, brown butter, pumpkin and caramel? Oh yeah, I’m there, baby!
After baking it and diving in (I only had a tiny slice…times five), I discovered that the texture isn’t dense like pound cake, but lighter like regular cake and very moist. But since it doesn’t look like cake, I’m calling it bread. Which kind of makes the name sound a little more wholesome, even with the mention of brown butter and caramel and the fact that the only wholesome thing in there makes up a very small part of the cake bread.
Whatever you want to call it, this stuff is awesome–bake a loaf and see for yourself!
Brown Butter Pumpkin Bread with Caramel Swirls
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp rum (optional)
about 1/2 – 3/4 cup dulce de leche (recipe here)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and lightly flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch (or 9 by 5-inch) loaf pan.
Heat the butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until the milk solids on the bottom are a dark chocolate brown. Transfer to a pie plate or shallow bowl and put it in the freezer just until it congealed, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl. Cream the brown butter with the sugars with mixer until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin, vanilla & rum. On a low speed, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Transfer about half of the batter to the loaf pan and smooth it around so that it covers the bottom of the pan and forms an even layer. Place small grape-sized dollops of dulce de leche on the surface. Swirl by running the tip of a knife through one or two times to create a swirly pattern. Cover with the rest of the batter, smooth the surface. Use the rest of the dulce de leche on top, also in small grape-sized dollops and swirled with the tip of a knife.
Bake 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours (75 to 90 minutes). Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a rack (right side up) to cool completely, about one hour.
Veronica’s Notes: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger. I used 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/8 t nutmeg, a couple sprinkles of cloves and the rest ginger.