Brown Butter Pound Cake with Strawberry Compote

You won't BELIEVE the flavor in this simple brown butter pound cake! Top with strawberry compote. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pound cake has never really been one of my favorite desserts to eat, but it’s one of my top 5 desserts to make and serve. The main reason being– it’s easy. Only a few staple ingredients beaten together and thrown into the oven. It’s also super versatile in that it’s the perfect canvas for layering different toppings, glazes, or ice cream– so no one even realizes I’m making the same thing all the time.

(Dessert tricks!!)

But, like I said, it’s just not my favorite dessert to eat. To me, pound cake has always been a little bland and a lot boring. I’d much rather dig into a slice of apple pie or a lemon cupcake. Anything tastes incredible under a stream of salted caramel or chocolate sauce, but it’s been my goal to make a wonderfully rich pound cake that’s not only full of flavor, but tastes absolutely exquisite on its own. And even better with something as humble as strawberry compote.

You won't BELIEVE the flavor in this simple brown butter pound cake! Top with strawberry compote. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

To get there, I played around in the kitchen for a few months. Every other week or so, I’d try tweaking my standard pound cake recipe with different techniques and flavors. The minute I smelled the brown butter version, I knew I had one of the best on my hands. It has a moist, velvety texture with a super dense and buttery crumb. The flavor is a dream. In fact, there is no way I’ll ever make pound cake without brown butter. But we’ll get to that in a sec.

First, do you know how pound cake got its name? Original pound cake recipes call for one pound of each: butter, sugar, eggs, & flour. And not much else. Recipes today are a little different, but the results are generally the same!

The first thing I looked at was the butter. Obviously pound cake gets most of its flavor and texture from this glorious ingredient. I tested different amounts, but it wasn’t until I decided to change the flavor of butter that I was satisfied. If you’ve ever used brown butter in a dessert before, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a powerful little ingredient that can transform a good cookie into a “this is the best cookie I’ve ever had in my life” phenomenon. And that’s not an exaggeration; it’s magic. When we brown butter, we cook out all of the water. The milk solids toast, which creates this completely mouthwatering nutty aroma and unique flavor.

How to brown butter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

One crucial step in making pound cake is creaming the butter and sugar. Brown butter is melted butter and you can’t really cream melted butter and sugar. Beating the two together will indeed create air bubbles, but they will quickly deflate. That’s not the batter base you want here. So we’re going to chill the brown butter. Chill it until it becomes solid and then treat it like you would regular butter. Let it soften to room temperature again. Sounds like an awful long time, but I chilled the brown butter in the freezer for only 45 minutes and took it out to soften for 15. Takes an hour, which is about how long regular butter takes to soften. More dessert tricks!

Let’s also take a look at the eggs. Room temperature eggs are key, so they (1) will not harden the butter when they’re added and (2) mix together smoothly. Make sure you add the eggs one at a time. Remember those air bubbles I just talked about? You don’t want them to collapse in the egg step either, so you’ll want to gradually beat them in. The air bubbles will expand as the cake bakes, which allows it to rise up (and not sink). Eggs are one of the most important ingredients in pound cake because they not only provide moisture and richness, they give the cake its structure. I suggest using high quality eggs because they aren’t just any other ingredient you’re throwing in. They’re crucial. And there are 4 of them. You know I’m a fan of Eggland’s Best eggs, always have been, and I highly advise your batter is equipped with them too!

See all the specks in the batter? Those are the toasty brown butter bits. F-l-a-v-o-r.

How to make brown butter pound cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make brown butter pound cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

One quick note before I get to the strawberry compote. (so good!!!) I add a teeny tiny amount of baking powder to my pound cake. Traditionally, pound cake is made without any chemical leavener, but since creaming brown butter doesn’t produce quite as much volume as regular (un-browned) butter would, I make up for it with a little baking powder. It just gives the cake a little extra lift in the right direction.

How to make strawberry compote on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ahhh, the strawberry compote. Love this stuff. It’s completely optional because the brown butter pound cake is pretty epic on its own, but I highly suggest serving some compote alongside. And strawberries are finally back in season, so you just have to.

Making it is actually really easy. Like a chunky strawberry syrup, but it’s made completely from scratch and isn’t cloyingly sweet like most store-bought stuff. You’ll need fresh strawberries, a squeeze and zest of lemon to offset some sweetness, sugar, and cornstarch (mixed with water) for thickening. Let it simmer on the stove for a few minutes and you’re done. I usually make the compote in advance because it will need some time to thicken once removed from heat.

PS: this stuff is ridiculously good spooned over cold, creamy greek yogurt in the morning. Or on top of waffles, ice cream, oatmeal, french toast, and funfetti angel food cake. (aka party in a cake pan!)

You won't BELIEVE the flavor in this simple brown butter pound cake! Top with strawberry compote. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This brown butter pound cake will stand the test of time in my recipe repertoire. You’ll not only love the brown butter flavor, you’ll appreciate the spot-on texture as well. Dense without tasting too heavy, golden brown, and impeccably rich. Try it!

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Brown Butter Pound Cake with Strawberry Compote

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (187g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large Eggland's Best eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Compote

  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced in half (you can use frozen; don't thaw)
  • zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Brown the butter: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning-- you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and pour into a large tupperware or a 9x13 baking pan. Cover tightly, place in the refrigerator or freezer, and chill until solid. I always place mine in the freezer. It only takes about 45 minutes this way.
  2. Remove the brown butter from the refrigerator or freezer and allow to slightly soften on the counter for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  4. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  5. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the solid brown butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the Eggland's Best eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat everything just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Pound cakes are dense and, therefore, take awhile in the oven. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  7. Make the strawberry compote: Whisk the cornstarch and water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. Add it, along with the rest of the compote ingredients, to a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the mixture as it cooks. Break up some of the strawberries as you stir. Bring it to a simmer and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
  8. Spoon cooled compote over pound cake. Cover and store leftover compote in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Make ahead tip: You can make the pound cake ahead of time by freezing it. Bake it, cool it, wrap it up in aluminum foil and freeze the loaf as a whole. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Freezes well up to 3 months. You can also brown the butter ahead of time too-- keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days then continue with step 2. You can make the strawberry compote a few days ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

More brown butter goodness in these thick & chewy chocolate chip cookies.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eggland’s Best provided me with eggs to bring you this recipe.

The BEST pound cake I've tried complete with brown butter for extra flour and homemade strawberry compote! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

98 comments

  1. Alright…so, brown butter. I see the brown specks in your visual, but the liquid part is still that yellowy-translucent tone. Do you wait until the liquid is brown too, or stop when the specks form on the bottom of the pan? 

    I have a feeling I have been making burnt butter instead of brown butter based upon your picture. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. 

    • When you swirl the butter, those specks mix into the yellow portion– so the whole mixture looks brown. (And you should be stirring as you brown it, so you can tell!) And that’s when you want to remove it from heat. Your butter may have been burnt. Does it smell burnt? Can you remember? Glad this helped!

  2. One of my favorite desserts is lemon pound cake! I love the melt-in-your-mouth texture!
    I’ve never tried browning butter, but the process sounds (and looks) a lot like what my mom does when she makes ghee or clarified butter. It has a wonderful taste and aroma, so different from butter. I never thought of using that in baking before! 
    I’m super tempted to try this with lemon zest! And maybe a lemon glaze.
    Also, I’d love a chocolate pound cake recipe! I’ve never tried one before!

  3. Can this be modified to make chocolate pound cake?

    • I’m sure it could, but I haven’t done the testing. Cocoa powder is pretty drying, so there may need to be an addition of a liquid or other moist ingredient.

  4. Just pulled this out of the oven smells awesome and I can’t wait to taste it . I also have a recipe that I make of chocolate chunk cookies that are made with melted browned butter. I have to make those constantly and send to my daughters friends in college for the past four years . Just the smell of browned butter takes me over the edge. Thanks for sharing this one and keep them coming yum !! 

  5. I’m tempted to make this! Great recipe 🙂 Looks amazing, too! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Hi Sally, I love your blog and have tried many of your recipes – each and every one of them turning into delicious treats! I have a question: Could you make the pound cake as a muffin, using muffin pans? Thanks a lot!

    • Oh for sure! I’d say the bake time is about 20 minutes or so. Unsure exactly how many it will make. Let me know how it goes!

  7. Can I make this in 1 or 2 (9×9 inch) round pans and is it possible to make brown butter in the microwave?

  8. This looks incredible! Pound cakes are one of my favorites but I have never tried making it with browned butter. Love the Strawberries on top, perfect combo!

  9. When I saw this recipe I knew I needed to make this and I’m so glad I did. I followed your directions exactly and everything seemed to come out wonderfully. The only discrepancy I had was my bread was done after 40 minutes and I had to cover it loosely with foil about halfway through. My oven isn’t very old and I have found it tends to run just a little on the warm side. The next trip to the store I will get a temperature gauge for it. Despite that, my house smelled incredible!!! I couldn’t wait to eat this!!! Thank You for this great recipe!!!

  10. Please. Yes. Thank you. Mouth. NOW. 

  11. Looks delicious. The strawberry compote sounds tasty, thanks a lot

  12. Um all I can say is WOW!!! I made this today to freeze ahead for Mother’s Day but had to sneak a little piece to try and I was blown away! Never knew I would love a pound cake so much but it’s the browned butter which really does it. Btw how do u think browned butter would taste in a buttercream frosting? 

  13. This sounds like the perfect cake for my mother in law’s birthday tonight! Do you think there’s enough batter to bake this cake in a bundt pan?

  14. I have 25mins left for the brown butter pound cake to be done. It smells heavenly all up in here

  15. I made this for dinner tonight and have to say, wow! Toasting the butter added a beautiful dimension to the pound cake. I have made quite a number of your recipes, but this one deserved a special thank you for sharing.

  16. Hey sally! Do you think it’s okay to put chocolate in part of this batter to make a marble pound cake? My dad requested it for tomorrow night. If you think its okay to put chocolate in it, how much do you think I should put in? And should I use cocoa powder or melted chocolate? 

  17. Hi Sally,
    I made this this afternoon to use up the rest of the butter i’d browned to make your choc chip cookies (that got filled with Nutella..it was not a weekend for the diet…). It was so delicious and rich, and the edges were so crunchy! 

    I can’t get enough of lemon blueberry so I added some lemon zest  and served with lemon curd swirled Greek yoghurt and blueberry/earl grey compote but I think strawberry/strawberry rhubarb actually would have been better! Oh well, next time! 

    I also halved the recipe for a big cupcake and a mini loaf tin and it still worked perfectly! Baked for 25 mins. 

    Have a nice week!  

  18. I had a sweet tooth and was craving something simple and different, and that’s exactly what this recipe is! Browned butter is THE best! I use it for a carrot cake recipe as well and that cake is to die for. I might as well used browned butter for every baking recipe I have as it takes everything from fantastic to phenomenal! I strongly had to resist putting Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice Cream on top of a hot slice (thank goodness there’s currently no ice cream in the freezer). I’ve already had 2 slices. Will resume eating and possibly finishing it tomorrow! Thanks, Sally!

  19. I think you have too many ads on your website that slow down the loading of pages. I can’t afford high speed internet so it takes several minutes to load and god forbid, I scroll down the page and I have to wait again. Please cut back on the ads or make them simpler…ones that don’t keep changing. I love your site…just hate the long delays in loading.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Winnie. We just switched ad networks and have been in test mode for the past several weeks. Ads and placements have been changing and what you see today will not be permanent.

  20. Hi Sally, 

    Just wanted to say that you are amazing.  I just love your recipes, I have tried few of your cakes recipes and my God they are delicious. 
    I want to request you to please share an eggless cake recipe if you have any. I am sure your reply ope will be the BEST. 

    Thanks

  21. Going to make this cake now!
    Can i use blueberry instead of strawberry?

  22. Is it okay if I double the recipe and bake it in a bundt pan? I know the baking time would be different, but I’m afraid that if I don’t double it, it would be a very small bundt cake. 🙁 

    • You could double for an extra large bundt cake (that will take a long while to bake!) or bake this as is in a bundt pan– without doubling. I’m unsure of the bake times for both though.

      • Hi Sally!
        Any suggestions on how to double/triple this recipe for a 13×9 pan? If not, do you have any bigger scale recipes for pound cake that would work?
        Thanks!

  23. My birthday treat this summer — holy cow! Please keep up the recipes with browned butter. No words! Thanks for another simply delicious recipe.

  24. Hi Sally, I was wondering how you think this would come out if I just used butter instead of brown butter? My mom asked for classic pound cake for her birthday and I can’t decide on a recipe. If you had one I would just use yours 😉 Anyway, I can imagine the brown butter in this is AMAZING and hopefully I’ll try it some time, but since my mom requested classic, what do you think? Thanks!

  25. Hi sally ,
    Could you tel me the measurement of brown butter after its done ? Approx how much in cups or gms ? I have a lot of brown butter in fridge and would love to try this cake.
    Thank You

  26. I’ve made this into one of my usual bake goods! It’s become onea of my dad’s favorite and I make it for him every once in a while! Perfect recipe! 🙂

  27. Question – Can you double the recipe – I need two cakes as I am serving 18 people – or should I do each cake separately?

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