SURPRISE!!!! + RECIPE: Brown Butter Cake with Raspberry Filling

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Smiley face balloons.
Home brews.
Funfetti cupcakes.
Chocolate cake.
This cake ↓↓↓.
Bonfires.
Camping.
BBQ pork.
BBQ ribs.
Smoked brisket made by my very favorite chef friend.
Bean bag toss.
Volleyball.
Euchre.
Surprises.
Family.
Friends.
Funny little signs that say holy &$@?! you’re old.
Me.

Can you guess what all these things have in common?! Can you can you can you!?!

It’s a list of things my Carrot likes!! And also, not coincidentally, a list of things that made an appearance at the 30th birthday surprise fiesta this past weekend!

And in case you were wondering, yes he was surprised!!!!! And no I did not spill the beans in my whirlwind-cake-baking-stressed-out-state (#butohmygodsoclosesomanytimes!).

surprise!!! surprise 30!

Let me tell you something though. Surprise parties thrown for someone you love very much are damn hard on the person throwing them. Like seriously difficult. If I didn’t have a Facebook/Instagram/blogosphere safe space where I could blab about it because my husband hates all things social media,  I just plain would not have made it. No way on Earth.  Surprise parties take a whole lot of advanced planning, patience and restraint. Things I usually do not possess. But look at me, growing.

Now, onto the cake, because that is what you really care about. I know. This cake that I made for the party, that I decided to invent not more than 12 hours before the big surprise even though I still had two other requested cakes to make, this crazy spontaneous cake has literally all the things I love in my sweet treats: brown butter, blueberries, raspberries, maple syrup, frosting. Yeah. That’s all in this cake. So buy some wild blueberry jam if you can get your mitts on it and go wild. This might just be the best cake you will ever have in your whole life. (P.S. I think it ended up looking a bit more like a wedding cake than a surprise birthday cake. If you agree and want me to make this cake for your wedding, I would not be offended).

Lots of love from this beautiful, love-filled week,
Leek

surprise cake

BROWN BUTTER CAKE WITH RASPBERRY FILLING

Takes 2 hours, plus more for freezing the cake layers
Makes a 2-layer, 9-inch cake that easily serves 10

3 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
2-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
Raspberry Filling:
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup (wild) blueberry jam
Maple Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans. Butter pan well and then sprinkle with flour. Shake to distribute flour and then remove excess.
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium low heat. Once melted, continue cooking, stirring frequently. The butter will sizzle and spit and turn foamy. Just keep cooking and stirring until it begins to brown and smell very nutty. This takes about 8 minutes. Wait for the cues though, don’t set a timer. You will need to keep stirring and keep an eye on it. Once the butter is brown and nutty, it needs to be removed from heat immediately! Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.
Combine the cooled, melted, browned butter and sugar in a mixing bowl on a stand mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in yolks followed by eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add half the flour and beat on a slow speed to combine. Add milk, beat until incorporated. Finish with remaining dry ingredients.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake tests clean. Remove from oven and let cool, ideally in the freezer over night for much easier frosting.
Prepare the filling
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour in raspberries. Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour over raspberries and stir to combine. Let cook for 5 minutes until the raspberries begin to release their juices. Add blueberry jam and reduce until thick, about 5 minutes more. Cool completely before use. (Cooling with help the filling thicken further).
Prepare the frosting
Beat the butter in a stand mixer on high until smooth. Add sugar slowly and continue mixing at a low speed. Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated (you may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl), increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add maple syrup and salt. Beat 1 minute more until smooth.
Build cake
Remove the cakes from the freezer. Set first layer on a plate. Spread filling over the first layer of cake, as close to the edges as you can. Top with the second layer. Frost the cake with a thin layer of maple buttercream frosting. Refrigerate until set.

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