Quick Brown Butter and Creme Fraiche Cake with Cocoa Nibs

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibsAt this time of year we are all so busy making the most of the summery weather and produce that baking can take a back seat – who wants to switch on the oven when it is so hot? Well, this unassuming looking cake  is one that I love to make early in the morning before the day has had a chance to heat up – it is quick to come together and only takes 25 minutes in the oven. The creme fraiche keeps it moist and the nutty browned butter gives it a wonderful depth of flavour that is caramel like with the brown sugar.

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibsBrilliant to take on a picnic or take to a barbecue. This is also a wonderful cake to have as a pudding too if you have people over – gently sauté some banana slices with a little butter and sugar (and perhaps a dash of orange juice or Cointreau) until caramelised and serve with a slice of the cake, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and perhaps a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

On another note; do you find that sometimes when you bake, your biscuits/cookies either brown too much or not enough even though you have followed instructions carefully? Blamed the recipe? Blamed the oven? Well, I came across this article on King Arthur Flour twitter feed – The Secret to Perfectly Browned Cookies. It’s all about the finish on your baking sheets and no, you don’t need to buy new ones; just adjust the timing once you have identified your sheets.

Well, I hope you are ready to party! I am co-hosting Fiesta Friday #24 today along with Indu @ Indu’s International Kitchen and Hilda @ Along the Grapevine. Indu has some truly amazing Keralan recipes as well as a host of healthily ones on her blog. Hilda lives on an idyllic 7 acre property, forages and documents her tasty results on her blog. Do pay them a visit and say hello!

If you would like to join, we would love to have you! Please do read the guidelines here, which are very simple. Well, let’s Fiesta!


Quick Brown Butter Cake with Cocoa Nibs

  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 135g soft brown sugar
  • 60 ml creme fraiche (or yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk)
  • 60 ml milk
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanlla
  • 165g plain/AP flour
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3Tbsp cocoa nibs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of 9 or 10 inch non stick pan.
  2. Measure out the brown sugar into a large mixing bowl, rub out any lumps and set aside.
  3. Measure out the flour salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl; give it a light whisk to aerate and combine and set aside.
  4. Get the rest of the ingredients to hand – not something I do normally but this cake comes together so quickly that it is best to do so.
  5. Over a medium low heat, melt the butter in a small stainless steel saucepan (the lighter colour of the pan means that you can see when the butter is brown). It will start by getting frothy and then really foam up. The butter starts to brown when it starts smelling nutty. Do not walk away from the pan at this stage; lift the pan off the heat and swirl to settle the foam and see what the colour of the butter is keep it over the heat but not on it while you are doing this.
  6. Pour it over the sugar, scraping in all the nutty brown sediment that will have settled at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Whisk with a handheld mixer until the sugar look like damp sand – about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the creme fraiche, the milk and the 2 eggs and whisk, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. The mixture will not thicken but it will be very liquid – make sure that it is well mixed about 2 or 3 minutes in total.
  9. Stir in the flour mixture and with a light hand, stir to combine – do not over mix.
  10. Gently stir in the cocoa nibs .
  11. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden. Test by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer – it there is any batter clinging to it, pop the cake back in for another couple of minutes.
  12. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  13. Lovely plain with a cuppa or served as a pudding with pan-fried bananas, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


93 thoughts on “Quick Brown Butter and Creme Fraiche Cake with Cocoa Nibs

  1. Selma,Love the easy peasy cake. Will definitely try it. I have a query: when you heat the butter and then use it , it is like using clarified butter ( ghee as we Indians call it ). Can I just use ghee instead?


    • Hi Suchitra. Glad you like the cake – it is so easy! When one heats butter, there is that white sediment that separates from the gold liquid. The gold liquid is ghee. But for this cake, we need that white sediment to carry on cooking and turn brown (but not burnt!) – this is what gives the butter a wonderful nutty, toasty flavour and aroma. If you did use ghee, you would still get a nice cake but it wouldn’t have that depth of flavour that using browned butter would have. Hope that helps!


  2. The cake is definitely more tastier with cocoa nibs, Selma! What a nice touch! :) Such cakes are widely-cooked in Russia too, because almost at any house there is a jar with sour cream :)


    • Hi Preethi – cacao nibs are tiny little nubs of healthy chocolate – you can substitute dark chocolate chips or hand chopped dark chocolate. I will amend the post to include the information. Thanks for the nudge!!


  3. Dear Selma … I have been away from blogging for a while now, but I noticed that I did not receive any notice about your posts. It says that I am following your blog, but I don’t receive notification in other words. I wonder what I can do to redress the situation? any suggestions? Thanks bella! Jo.xxx


    You are following this blog, along with 2,221 other amazing people (manage).


    • Lovely Jo – I have missed you and the wonderful glimpses into your Italian lifestyle, the history and your fabulous recipes of course. I hope that you will be sharing more regularly again. If you follow my blog by email, then you will get notifications to your inbox. If you follow it via WordPress, then it will pop up in your reader when you look at it. I follow yours via email as I don’t go through the reader regularly. – anyway, enjoy the summer and the wonderful food that it brings! Bacci x


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