Brown Butter Cake with Caramelized Apples and Sour Beer Caramel

Sarah Jordan

Boka and GT Fish & Oyster - Chicago

Pastry chef Sarah Jordan prepared this brown butter cake at a Beard House dinner. For the caramel, she uses a sour beer like Unibroue Éphémère or Goose Island Matilda.


  • Brown Butter Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/3 cups almond flour
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 egg whites
  • Caramelized Apples:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Beer Caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sour beer
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

To make the cake, melt the butter in a skillet over low heat. Continue cooking the butter until brown flecks form on the bottom of the pan and the butter smells nutty, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites. In a separate bowl, mix a fourth of the batter with the browned butter, then fold the mixture back into the remaining batter. Pour the batter into the pan and bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

To make the caramelized apples, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a large sauce pot. Cook over medium heat, swirling the pot but not stirring, until the mixture is medium amber in color, about 10 minutes. Add the apples to the pot and swirl to coat. Keep cooking for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let the apples cool in the caramel for 20 minutes. When cool, stir in the vanilla extract.

To make the beer caramel, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat just until the mixture becomes dark amber in color and just begins to smoke, about 10 minutes. Slowly pour the beer into the caramel, being careful of steam. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.

To serve, slice the cake into individual pieces. Top each slice with a scoop of apples and drizzle with beer caramel.


One 9 x 13-inch cake