Brown butter spice cake

Brown butter spice cake
  • Serves icon Serves 8
  • Time icon Hands-on time 15 min; oven time 30 min

Try baking up a storm for afternoon tea with this recipe for brown butter spice cake – how to decorate it is up to you (perhaps with edible flowers, as in this Victoria sponge topped with roses).


  • 250g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 100g treacle
  • 250ml tea, made using 2 english breakfast teabags
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 600g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp baking powder

For the icing

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Butter and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan until it stops foaming and browns. Strain through a coffee filter or fine sieve into a large bowl and cool, then beat with the sugar, eggs and treacle. Stir in the tea and orange zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the spices and baking powder. Blend into the butter mixture. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
  4. For the icing, mix the ingredients with 1 tbsp water. Spread over 1 of the cakes and sandwich with the other cake.


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