Monday, October 12, 2015

Creme Brûlée Cake

You knew it was coming. I warned you. 

And now it's here. It was a smashing, delightful success that I must share. Soooooo good.

First, I must admit this is a decidedly untraditional cake. It's light, moist, creamy, and dreamy. It is the opposite of rich. Which is just crazy, because I was afraid the cake was going to be insanely rich. Not so. The cake is just perfect, airy but moist. The pastry cream is also surprisingly light. Together, they make a delicious combination. This is a very un-Southern cake, meaning when the hubby's Southern relatives tell me this cake would go excellent with coffee, I know it's a low-sugar cake. 

While I didn't set out to make a lighter cake, I was pretty happy with the final results. Not every cake has to be heavy. Or rich. Or have so much sugar you can taste the granules between your teeth. There's a place in the world for every cake, and this cake is for the person who wants to eat a whole slice of cake without struggling because the cake is so indulgently rich. I am one of those people who can struggle with a rich dessert, only eating half or maybe a third. I did not struggle with this cake, however.

Is that caramelization wonderful or what?

So, here's how it happened. The yellow cake recipe I chose was the sponge recipe from my Pecan Pie Cake. It was an insanely popular recipe and everyone loved the cake, so I thought, why not? As for the custard, I took my recipe for Vanilla Bean Custard Bars and doubled the custard. It was perfect. 

Look at all that pastry cream. Yummmmmmm.

I never found a recipe to model mine after on Google. But my idea ended up working out. We put a thick layer of custard in between the layers, ensuring there was also a thick layer on top of the cake. We then sprinkled bakers sugar (i.e. extremely fine sugar) all over the top of the cake, and then the hubby lit it up.

The sugar on top began to caramelize immediately, and turn the most lovely brown color. One of my favorite parts of the cake is that some of the sugar (after it's been caramelized) starts to drip down the sides of the cake oh-so-decoratively. And deliciously!

My one note on the cake- that wonderful brown caramelization. It doesn't really stay like that overnight. We fired up the cake to serve everyone for the hubby's birthday, and the top looked great. It stayed crackly and crunchy the whole time we had people over. I put the cake in the fridge overnight though, and by the next day, the custard had absorbed the sugar layer. Basically the same thing real creme brûlée does if you fire it up and put it in the fridge. Here's my advice: if you are serving for a big group that's going to eat the whole cake, then by all means, fire the top of the whole cake. If you are serving a small group, I recommend toasting individual slices before serving. However, if you do have a sugar layer get absorbed overnight, just take a butter knife and scrape that layer off. Then you can put new sugar on top of the custard, and re-fire all over again. We actually did this on the 2nd day, and it worked perfectly. 

Make this today. You will love it. And then love it some more. And you might find yourself eating way more cake than you intended. It's true, this happened to me. I mean, someone has to eat that piece of cake that I take pictures of. Om nom nom.

Well, it's Monday again. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was low-key, the hubby was working the night shift this weekend. Yes, another night shift. Supposably, this was the last one but they said that the last time too. We'll see how that works out. The hubby is supposed to be shifting to a normal schedule sometime within the next couple of months. As in, working 6:30 am to 4 pm Monday-Friday. We can't wait. But it doesn't seem to be happening just yet.

In other news, the hubby and I have challenged ourselves to clean out our freezer and pantry. We want to start the new year fresh, plus the freezer is out of control right now. I was going through everything, taking an inventory, and in general, just astounded at how much I've crammed in there. Needless to say, I've made dinner the last 3 nights without having to pick up anything from the store except for small things, like a bunch of cilantro or a container of sour cream. It's been pretty amazing. 

We'll see what kind of meals I can come up with for the blog :-)

Happy Monday everyone!


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, room temp, separated
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup whole milk

5 1/2 cups whole milk
1 whole vanilla bean
4 eggs + 4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup bakers sugar
garnish- raspberries, mint leaves (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat 2 (9 inch) cake pans with cooking spray, set aside.
2. Prepare the cake- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in egg yolks. Beat in vanilla extract. In a separate small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Alternating between milk and flour, slowly mix both into butter mixture. In a separate large bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into cake batter. Distribute cake batter between two cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Remove from oven, and cool in pans for 20 minutes. Remove from pans, and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
3. Prepare the custard- Place milk in a small sauce pan. Slice vanilla bean in half. Scrape seeds into milk. Throw pods into the pot as well. Heat over medium heat, until small bubbles form around the edges. Remove milk from heat, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, discard the vanilla bean pods. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks until combined. Add sugar, and beat until almost white. This will take some time, about 10 minutes. And cake flour and cornstarch, and mix well. Add egg mixture to the milk mixture and place saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until mixture first begins to thicken. Immediately remove from heat, but continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth. Pour custard into a bowl, and immediately place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the custard. This will keep it from forming a skin. Chill custard for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
4. Construct the cake- Cut the tops off the cakes to make them even. Place half the custard on top of one of the cakes, then sandwich with the other cake. Place the rest of the custard on the top of the second cake. Chill cake until ready to serve.
5. Sprinkle an even layer of sugar over the top of the custard. Using a kitchen torch, brown the top of the cake. Garnish with raspberries and/or mint, if using. Slice, and serve immediately. Cake can be served with vanilla ice cream or whip cream, based on preference. Store leftovers in the fridge.

If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy these-


  1. Welcome to Yum Goggle! We are now following on all your social media and hope you will do the same. We will tag you as we share your posts on the platforms available to us! (thanks for submitting Jessica!) Kelli from YG.

    1. Thank Kelli! I think I followed YumGoggle on all my platforms. Looking forward to sharing my recipes :)

      Have a great weekend Kelli!

  2. My goodness, this looks delicious! Pinned and Tweeted. This would be a perfect dessert for any dinner party after a large meal. Thanks for sharing with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday.

    1. I agree, it would be a fantastic dessert after a large meal since it is lighter. And I think we all know that dinners can get heavy at dinner parties, that's just how it works :)

      Have a great weekend Beverly!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.