Brown Butter Sheet Cake

Brown Butter Sheet Cake

This recipe is a simple & yummy twist on one of my all-time favorite cake recipes :: White Texas Sheet Cake. This cake recipe has it all – it’s easy, quick and yields such a moist, flavor-packed cake. And — as you can see by doing a keyword search on my blog using the word “cake”, I have twisted and contrived the original recipe into MANY variations. Check them out HERE.

For this recipe, I am starting off by browning butter.

Over medium-high flame, melt 3 sticks of butter. Once the butter achieves that nutty brown color add 1½ cups of water and continue cooking until the butter/water mixture boils. If you’ll look closely at the above photo, you see tiny flecks of brown – those are the browned milk solids and that’s where the flavor for this Brown Butter Sheet Cake comes from.

BUT — once that butter browns, it is super easy to burn. So keep a close watch.

Next, add sour cream and sugar, whisking until smooth.

Then combine dry ingredients – flour, salt & baking soda. Whisk eggs and alternatively add flour & eggs in thirds, whisking vigorously until both are incorporated into the cake batter.

Pour the batter into a parchment-lined 12″ x 17″ cake pan and bake 22-24 minutes at 375°.

While the cake is baking, prepare the brown butter stovetop buttercream by browning 1½ sticks of butter in a small pot over medium-high flame. Melt ½ stick of butter with ¾ cup 2% milk, bring to a low boil and then remove from the flame. Add a pinch of salt, 2 t vanilla 6 c powdered sugar and browned butter. When adding browned butter, be sure to scrape all of the little brown bits out of the pan. That’s what gives the buttercream those gorgeous brown flecks!

Whisk everything together until smooth.

Add additional powdered sugar or milk (by tablespoons) to reach desired consistency.

Now, back to the cake. You’ll know the cake is done by the famous “toothpick” test. But I really hate poking little holes in the top of my beautiful cake. So I do a “jiggle test”. When cooking time nears completion, open the oven and (using a potholder-covered-hand) give the cake pan a little jiggle. If the center of the cake jiggles back, add a few minutes. If the center is stationary – cooking time is complete. It’s important to keep a close eye on the cake during the last few minutes of baking. You definitely don’t want a raw cake – or a dry cake. And, trust me — the more you practice, the better you’ll get!

When baking is done, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Last, pour the warm buttercream over the warm cake. Allow the cake to continue cooling for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Unless you simply cannot wait one more second and in that case – just dig in.

Look closely. See those tiny flecks of browned butter in the buttercream?! Oh my word. It’s home on a plate. All those distant happy memories, sweet familiar smells and tastes that linger like a whisper on your tastebuds – all those food recollections wrapped into one perfect bite. This Brown Butter Sheet Cake recipe isn’t a recreation of a childhood recipe that momma or grandma made – but wow, it sure does remind me of those sweet and special things they did make. I hope you first bite reminds you of all the “sentimental bests” of your food recollections!


Brown Butter Sheet Cake
Serves 20
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
24 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
24 min
578 calories
84 g
94 g
26 g
4 g
16 g
161 g
557 g
69 g
1 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 578
Calories from Fat 226
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
Saturated Fat 16g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 94mg
Sodium 557mg
Total Carbohydrates 84g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 69g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 sticks salted butter
  2. 1½ c water
  3. 3 c pure cane sugar
  4. ¾ c sour cream
  5. 2 t vanilla
  6. 3 c flour
  7. 1½ t kosher salt
  8. 1½ t baking soda
  9. 3 eggs
Stovetop Buttercream
  1. 2 sticks salted butter, separated
  2. ¾ c 2% milk*
  3. 6½ c powdered sugar*
  4. ½ t kosher salt
  5. 1½ t vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare a 12" x 17" cake pan by buttering and lining with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high flame, brown the butter. Keep a close eye to prevent burning - you are wanting a medium brown color.
  3. Once the butter is browned, add water and bring to a low boil. Remove from flame and add sugar and sour cream. Stir to incorporate.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, salt & baking soda. In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs.
  5. Add eggs and flour mixture in thirds alternatively while whisking vigorously until all are added and mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour cake batter into prepared pan and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake until the center is set, 22-24 minutes.
  7. While cake is baking, brown 1½ sticks of butter in the same manner as previously described. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining ½ stick of butter. Bring to a low boil and remove from flame. Add browned butter, powdered sugar, salt & vanilla to the milk/butter mixture. Stir and add additional milk and/or powdered sugar if necessary to obtain desired buttercream consistency. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps.
  8. Once the center of the cake is set and baking is complete, remove cake from the oven. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before pouring the warm buttercream over the warm cake.
  9. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
  10. Serves 20
  1. *may need to add more of one or the other in order to reach desired consistency.
Adapted from White Texas Sheet Cake
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