creme brûlée

Creme Brûlée Cake

Creme Brûlée Cake by Wood and Spoon. This is a fluffy vanilla bean butter layer cake with a vanilla bean custard and a burnt sugar frosting. The cake has all the flavors of classic creme brûlée in layer cake form! Learn how to make this and assemble this stacked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Happy Sunday, Friends! It’s been a while since I checked in on a Sunday, but I figured your day of rest on this long weekend may need a little reading and recipe inspiration. Cue this creme brûlée cake.

I made this cake a few weeks ago for a friend’s birthday, and it was a reminder of why I’m so head-over-heels in love with baking. He called to thank me for the cake and instead of just saying, “It was good!” or “Thanks for the cake!” he told me that the gesture made him feel special. He was just grateful. Y’all, THIS is why we share our gifts with people. It’s not to show off or fill a slot on a birthday menu. It’s to love people! It’s to let them know they were worth your time and resources. It’s to give them a big hug in the form of whatever your gifting is. We share those skills and the things we’re good at to remind people they matter to us. We do it to love them.

Creme Brûlée Cake by Wood and Spoon. This is a fluffy vanilla bean butter layer cake with a vanilla bean custard and a burnt sugar frosting. The cake has all the flavors of classic creme brûlée in layer cake form! Learn how to make this and assemble this stacked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

If you’re on this site, I have to believe you’re into baking and that you just might need a little push to get out there and share your stuff with the world. Can I just sign up to be the one to encourage you to do it? Who cares if your frosting looks weird or if the cookies are a little burnt? What does it matter if your pie lattice is short of perfect? Take the initiative to share whatever it is you’re working with to the people around you and just wait till you see the difference it makes. Reciprocating love that we’ve been on the receiving end of is a natural thing. When we extend ourselves on behalf of another person, it does something for them- it let’s them know you value them, and that pipeline of love becomes a revolving door of kindness within the relationship and to others that are in proximity. In a world where it’s increasingly common to be ugly to one another, don’t you kinda want to be the person who’s just out there sharing the love? I do. I want to be the person that loves big. If that happens to involve macarons and pies and creme brûlée cake, well, I’m all the more for it.

Creme Brûlée Cake by Wood and Spoon. This is a fluffy vanilla bean butter layer cake with a vanilla bean custard and a burnt sugar frosting. The cake has all the flavors of classic creme brûlée in layer cake form! Learn how to make this and assemble this stacked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

This creme brûlée cake has fluffy butter cake layers, a creamy vanilla bean custard, and a flavorful burnt sugar buttercream frosting. The flavors, when blended together, sing of the traditional creme brûlée dessert they were inspired by, and the soft textures yield a creamy mouthfeel that is similarly representative. This cake is best made slightly ahead of time as the custard benefits from chilling in the fridge and the frosting requires a few extra steps. When broken down, the cake is complex, yes, but still very attainable even for new bakers.

Creme Brûlée Cake by Wood and Spoon. This is a fluffy vanilla bean butter layer cake with a vanilla bean custard and a burnt sugar frosting. The cake has all the flavors of classic creme brûlée in layer cake form! Learn how to make this and assemble this stacked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

This creme brûlée cake also has a bit of a choose your own adventure kind of vibe too. I initially set out to utilize the egg whites leftover from making the custard, so a burnt sugar Swiss meringue buttercream was born. But look, y’all- I am TERRIBLE at making Swiss meringue buttercream. Like, terrible. So I also tested this cake with a simple burnt sugar American buttercream too, because I have a feeling I’m not the only one. You can use whichever you please- they’re both terrific tasting.

Creme Brûlée Cake by Wood and Spoon. This is a fluffy vanilla bean butter layer cake with a vanilla bean custard and a burnt sugar frosting. The cake has all the flavors of classic creme brûlée in layer cake form! Learn how to make this and assemble this stacked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Give this creme brûlée cake a try and let me know what you think! Shout out to the creme brûlée lovers who are going to be really into this treat. Happy long weekend and happy baking!

If you like this creme brûlée cake you should try:

Tiramisu Cake
Bruleed Key Lime Pies
Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting
Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard

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Creme Brûlée Cake

Creme Brûlée Cake by Wood and Spoon. This is a fluffy vanilla bean butter layer cake with a vanilla bean custard and a burnt sugar frosting. The cake has all the flavors of classic creme brûlée in layer cake form! Learn how to make this and assemble this stacked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

This creme brûlée cake has burnt sugar frosting, a vanilla bean custard filling, and fluffy butter cake layers!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 180
  • Yield: One 8” layer Cake 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter
  • 13/4 cup (350 gm) sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (410 gm) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 11/4 (300 gm) cups whole milk, at room temperature

For the custard:

  • 11/2 cups (360 gm) half and half (or a mix of whole milk and heavy cream will work!)
  • ½ vanilla bean (or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract)
  • 2 large egg yolks (Save the whites for the buttercream!)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the burnt sugar crunch:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 gm) water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

For the Swiss meringue buttercream (See notes for alternative buttercream!):

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 13/4 cups (350 gm) sugar
  • 15 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease three 8” round cake pans and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg and egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Add the vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in half of the dry ingredients on low speed. Add half of the milk and scrape the bowl again. Repeat this process with the remaining dry ingredients and milk. Fold in any unincorporated bits and divide the batter between the three pans. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes OR until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

To prepare the custard:

  1. Pour the half and half into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and add the vanilla bean, scraping the insides into the liquid. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat off and allow the vanilla to infuse into the liquid for 15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, vigorously whisk or beat the yolks with the sugar on medium speed until it lightens in color and becomes slightly fluffy. Add the cornstarch and stir to combine. 
  3. After 15 minutes of infusing the half and half, remove the vanilla bean and carefully pour about ¾ cup of the warm liquid into the egg mixture, whisking or mixing quickly all the while to prevent the eggs from curdling. Pour the egg mixture plus the ¾ cup of added liquid back into the saucepan with the remaining half and half. Whisk to combine and then turn the heat to medium-low. Keep stirring until the mixture comes to a low bubble and begins to thicken. Once thickened to a runny mayonnaise consistency, quickly remove from heat. Feel free to strain the mixture with a fine wire strainer as needed. Set aside in a heat-safe bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap to cool completely. The custard can be made a day or two in advance. 

To prepare the burnt sugar crunch:

  1. Liberally butter a half sheet pan with rimmed sides that is lined with a full sheet of foil.
  2. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar and water over medium heat, stirring together occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture gets hot enough it will begin to bubble. Increase the heat to medium-high and avoid stirring it any more. You can gently swirl the pan occasionally to keep the mixture from burning in one spot. Continue cooking over heat until the mixture turns amber colored, about 10 minutes. It may barely begin to smoke. Remove the pot from heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda quickly. Dump the mixture out onto the pan and barely spread it out with a spatula. Don’t overwork it though as this will deflate all the bubbles. Allow the mixture to cool completely prior to breaking and using in the custard. You’ll want to make the crunch within a day of processing the yogurt and keep it in a sealed bag as the crunch will absorb moisture from the air and get chewy/sticky over time.

To prepare the buttercream and assemble the cake:

  1. Prepare a double boiler. Place a small to medium-sized saucepan with an inch of water on the stove. The pot needs to be slightly smaller than the bowl of your stand mixer to ensure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water in the pan. Clean the bowl of your stand mixer well to ensure no trace of fat or grease is in the bowl- this can prevent your egg whites from thickening. I like to squeeze the juice of a half of a lemon into the bowl and use a paper towel to wipe down the insides of the bowl as well as the whisk attachment. Once the bowl is clean, add the room temp egg whites and sugar to the bowl. Turn the burner on to medium heat and station yourself at the stove to stir the eggs regularly. Over the course of about 3-5 minutes, the sugar in the egg whites will dissolves. Once the mixture reaches about 160 degrees farenheit (or when you notice the sugar has dissolved in the eggs- you can carefully feel for this as well!), remove the bowl from the double boiler and place it on the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture on medium speed (I use 6 on my Kitchen Aid) for about 15 minutes or until the eggs have developed STIFF peaks. The bowl should be room temperature to the touch and glossy peaks should stand up on the end of the whisk when you scoop them out of the bowl. (Note: sometimes my mixer overheats and the warm eggs have a hard time standing up perfectly straight. Use your best judgment. If the bowl is cool and the eggs are standing up but the mixer is really hot it can make your whites droopy. But don’t underbeat! You frosting will not come together if so!) Scrape the whisk clean and then put the paddle attachment on the machine. Running on medium speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the butter has all been added whip for an additional 3 minutes until the mixture has fluffed up. Here’s where things can get dicey: If your butter is too cold, you can end up with a curdled lumpy looking mixture in your bowl. You’ll know if it’s not right. Remove a cup of the mixture from your bowl and put it into another. Microwave that cup of liquid for about 15 seconds to carefully warm and then add it back to the mixer. Whip again to see if it comes together and repeat if it continues to look the same. If your mixture is runny and loose, it could be your meringue or butter was too warm. Place the entire bowl in the fridge to cool down for about 30 minutes and then rewhip. It should come together but repeat as needed. Once light and fluffy, add the vanilla and salt. Then, break off about half of the burnt sugar crunch and process it in a mini chopper or blender until it’s reduced to a sandy powder- avoid clumps! Add ¼ cup of the sandy powder to the buttercream and whip until combined. Feel free to add a tablespoon of cream as needed if the mixture is too thick. Frosting is best use immediately, so get started assembling! 
  2. When ready to assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to level the tops of the cakes. Place a small bit of buttercream on an 8” cake board or plate and then place your first layer of cake on top. Put about half of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (alternatively you can use a quart-sized Ziploc with the end snipped off) and pipe a dam of frosting about 1/2” tall around the perimeter of the cake. Be sure the ends of the dam meet well so that your filling doesn’t squish out the sides of the cake. Spread half of the custard into the center of the dam and then top it all with a second layer of cake. Repeat this process and then use the remaining frosting to ice the cake. Decorate as preferred and enjoy! Cake is best served the day it is assembled and should be stored in the fridge. Allow the cake to come to rom temp before serving. 

Notes

  1. To be honest, Swiss meringue buttercream always feels like a lot of work for me, but I love finding use for all those extra egg whites. If you’re uncertain, you CAN do this cake with a traditional American buttercream too! Cream 2 cups of room temperature unsalted butter until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes on medium speed. Add 1 cup of burnt sugar powder (made by processing the burnt sugar crunch!) and 4-1/2 cups powdered sugar. Add this slowly, on low speed, over the course of a minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add ¼ teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of cream as needed to smooth it out. You can add additional powdered sugar to thicken it up or additional cream to thin it out. Enjoy!

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Hi friends! In honor of Memorial Day and the coming summer days, I wanted to bring you a frozen, warm weather treat that I can’t believe I’ve lived 30 years without: CREME BRÛLÉE FROZEN CUSTARD. Yes, this dessert tastes like a cold and creamy version of the classic French dessert, and while making homemade ice cream can be a task for beginners, it’s a process worth learning. This custard is mind-blowing delish, and if you like creme brûlée you’re going to love the scoop on this one.

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I traveled to Orlando this weekend for my sister’s high school graduation. I was 13 when she was born and we have spent the majority of our lives living in different states, but by some stroke of luck we’ve wound up being family that loves each other like friends. She will be moving to Alabama this fall to go to my alma mater, and I’m honestly so excited that I may strike a sorority pose and go back to college myself. (Okay, okay, I’m kidding but only a little.)

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

All of her transitions and big life moments are making me nostalgic and incredibly aware of my age and the phase of life I’m in. There’s a part of me that really misses the freedom, spontaneity, possibility of those college days, but on the other hand, thank God I’ve found myself in a season that feels grounded and safe. I don’t know if 18 year old me would have mapped out the life I’m currently living, but wow… I have a lot to give thanks for.

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Like this creme brûlée frozen custard. 18 year old Kate didn’t know how to make custard. She couldn’t afford an ice cream machine or discern the difference between a frozen custard and a push-pop. If we’re being honest, she probably couldn’t even spell creme brûlée. My late 20’s brought about an extra 10 pounds, 100 grey hairs, and a whole lot of extra responsibilities, but it also reinforced a firm foundation in the art of frozen dessert… hallelujer.

This creme brûlée frozen custard gets its taste from its eggy vanilla bean custard base and the crackly bits of burnt sugar crisp that are scattered throughout. Over time the sugar in the crisp breaks down and dissolves, causing those bits to turn into a thick syrupy swirl that is BEYOND. The taste unmistakably reads “creme brûlée,” and if you’re a fan of the original dessert you’re going to love it.

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Unfortunately, if you don’t have an ice cream machine this creme brûlée frozen custard is not for you. I can’t recommend a method of preparation that will yield equally delicious results, so maybe just borrow a machine from a friend of invest in an inexpensive one like this! I inherited my machine from a dear friend who understood the concept of “sharing is caring,” and it has been one of the more useful pieces of unnecessary kitchen equipment I own.

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

I hope you’ll give this creme brûlée frozen custard a try this Memorial Day weekend and let me know what you think! I’ll be sharing a second recipe later this week so stay tuned!

If you like this creme brûlée frozen custard you should try:

Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting

Turtle Ice Cream

Coffee Cookie Dough Ice Cream

No-Churn Sugar Cookie Dough Ice Cream

 

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Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard

Creme Brûlée Frozen Custard by Wood and Spoon. This is a creamy vanilla bean ice cream that tastes just like creme brûlée. It has a swirls of toasty burnt sugar pieces in it that make it taste like the original French dessert. Make this frozen dessert in an ice cream machine! Read more about this summertime gourmet favorite on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

This creme brûlée frozen custard has swirls of toasty burnt sugar bits and a creamy mouthfeel just like the original dessert!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Total Time: 60
  • Yield: 1 Quart 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

For the custard:

  • 2 cups (480 gm) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (240 gm) whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

For the burnt sugar crunch:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 gm) water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

To prepare the custard:

  1. Combine the cream and whole milk in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, vigorously whisk or mix with a hand mixer on medium speed the eggs, yolks, and sugar until the mixture has started to turn pale and thicken slightly. Don’t whip to the point that it becomes bubbly or frothy.
  3. When the milk is done simmering, slowly pour one cup of the mixture into the egg, whisking vigorously the whole time. Don’t dump it in all at once or you’ll risk scrambling your eggs! Once the milk has been incorporated, carefully pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine. Gently cook over low heat until the mixture has thickened slightly enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 2 minutes) and then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove any clumps that may have formed and then place the entirety of the mixture into a large plastic bag. Fill the sink or a large bowl with icy water and place the plastic bag directly into it to chill the mixture quickly. While you wait for it to chill, you can begin making your burnt sugar crunch.

To prepare the burnt sugar crunch:

  1. Liberally butter a half sheet pan with rimmed sides that is lined with a full sheet of foil.
  2. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar and water over medium heat, stirring together occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture gets hot enough it will begin to bubble. Increase the heat to medium-high and avoid stirring it any more. You can gently swirl the pan occasionally to keep the mixture from burning in one spot. Continue cooking over heat until the mixture turns amber colored, about 10 minutes. It may barely begin to smoke. Remove the pot from heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda quickly. Dump the mixture out onto the pan and barely spread it out with a spatula. Don’t overwork it though as this will deflate all the bubbles. Allow the mixture to cool completely prior to breaking and using in the custard. You’ll want to make the crunch within a day of processing the yogurt and keep it in a sealed bag as the crunch will absorb moisture from the air and get chewy/sticky over time.

To finish the custard:

  1. Pour the chilled custard in a prepared ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It takes about 15-20 minutes in my machine. In the last 5 minutes of processing, crush about 2/3 of the burnt sugar crunch into small, sandy pieces and pour into the custard. Make sure it is well incorporated. I like a majority of my crunch to be fine and sandy with a few 1/8-1/4” pieces throughout. Once the custard is finished, place in a freezer-safe container and freeze until frozen! Enjoy!

Adapted from Genius Kitchen