Make this impressive brown butter hazelnut cake, then also check out our Italian chocolate hazelnut cake, almond cake and walnut cake.


  • 225g unsalted butter, roughly chopped, plus extra for the tin
  • 275g blanched hazelnuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan or oven, and cooled
  • 125g plain flour
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • a pinch sea salt flakes, plus another for the glaze


  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 115g demerara sugar
  • 150ml double cream


  • STEP 1

    Put the 225g chopped butter in a frying pan with a light-coloured base (so you can see the colour change) and gently melt, swirling occasionally. As it begins to foam, swirl constantly and when the butter turns from golden yellow to a toasty brown and smells nutty, take off the heat and tip into a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking. Cool until solid but still soft.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter a round 23cm cake tin and line the base with a circle of baking paper.

  • STEP 3

    Put the hazelnuts and flour in a food processor and pulse to finely grind the hazelnuts, until they are similar in texture to ground almonds.

  • STEP 4

    Put the cooled brown butter and sugar in a large bowl and, using electric beaters, whisk until pale. Add in a third of the flour-nut mixture, followed by an egg at a time – mixing each in completely before adding the next. Stir in the remaining flour mix with the vanilla, rum and salt. Scrape the batter into the tin, smooth the top, then bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin.

  • STEP 5

    When the cake has cooled, make the glaze. Melt the butter over a low-medium heat in a medium pan, then add the sugar and melt for a minute. Swirl in the cream with a pinch of salt, then bring gently to the boil before bubbling for a couple of minutes until you have a glossy, brown caramel. Take the cake out of the tin, flip over onto a wire rack so the bottom of the cake is uppermost this will give you a smooth surface for glazing. When the glaze has cooled and thickened sufficiently about 15 minutes – slowly drizzle over the cake to coat. If it’s thickened too much, just gently warm again.

  • STEP 6

    When the caramel has set further, serve the cake in thin slices – with cake forks for tea, or a spoonful of crème fraîche for pudding.


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