brown sugar poundcakes with brown butter icing

...or she didn't have the baby yet, so let's eat cupcakes.

you see, she thought she was going into labor last friday morning. she wasn't far enough along, so the doctor sent her home. all weekend i waited. i slept with the phone next to me, just in case. but nope, it didn't happen.

so what a surprise when i heard her come in to the office monday morning. and by the end of the day, still nothing. not a thing. we were all expecting her to come back in on tuesday. and hey, if the woman still hasn't had the baby, she may as well eat cake.

but at 4:00 tuesday morning, i got the text - 8lbs 6oz! finally!

so mamacita, these cupcakes are for you. sorry you missed them. i'll make another batch to welcome you back in june.

for the cakes, i used all dark brown sugar because i like the butterscotchy/molassesey flavor of the dark rather than the light brown sugar, but use whatever you like (or have on hand).

after ferociously licking the whisk after making the icing, i decided it's absolutely divine and would make an awesome buttercream with a relatively plain - i'm thinking white - layer cake.

brown sugar poundcakes with brown butter glaze
adapted from Martha Stewart's cupcakes, makes 12 cupcakes

for the cakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons buttermilk

for the glaze
1/2 stick butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
  1. preheat the oven to 325F and line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. add eggs, one a time, until incorporated.
  3. mix in baking powder and salt. alternate adding flour and buttermilk until everything is incorporated.
  4. fill muffin tins 3/4 full. bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then remove. cool completely before glazing.
  6. while waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make the glaze. start by melting the butter over medium heat in a pan that is not nonstick. cook until the butter turns a nutty amber color, 6-10 minutes. pour off the browned butter (try not to get all the black sediment - it just tastes burnt) into a glass or heat proof bowl. add the sugar, vanilla, and milk. mix until smooth.
  7. when the cupcakes are cool, glaze them. turn the cupcake upside down and dip into the glaze. swirl the cupcake as you pull it up and out of the glaze (to get the relatively flat top). eat immediately or let sit out for an hour or so for the glaze to dry.


  1. I think I might die....that icing ~ you kill me! And to think I'm planning on making pound cake tomorrow, what do ya know? I might have to attempt this version (or at the very least, the icing!) Cheers!

  2. i hate/love when i have all the recipes for a sinful dessert like this in my kitchen, but no occasion to make them for. guess it's cupcakes for breakfast next week for me. :)

  3. These are incredibly delicious, especially the glaze topping. I think next I might try the glaze with a lighter British fairy cake mixture instead of the American poundcake, which is denser than I'm used to in a bun.

  4. I thought these had no flavor at all :/ no one in my family liked them at all...threw them away! I followed the directions exactly too..

    1. Why be anonymous...its just your opinion. Everyone is allowed to have one!

  5. Oh no! I'm so sorry your family didn't care for these! We loved them, but I guess they aren't for everyone. :(

  6. These look awesome. I love anything with browned butter!

  7. My husband loves brown sugar anything so we made these tonight but made a caramel butter cream frosting... the glaze was a little intimidating, next time I'll try it:) Super good,we all loved them!

  8. hi sarah - i'm glad you and your husband liked them. don't be intimidated by the glaze! as long as you don't burn the butter, you're fine (and even if you do burn it, just don't use any of the burnt sediment in the bottom of the pan). browned butter is amazing!

  9. I just now made this glaze and it was very easy. Dont be intimidated. I just whisked the butter the entire time...until it turned a light brown color and I didnt burn it. Tastes WONDERFUL. I have a happy hubby!

  10. These are fantastic! I'm going to try adding pecans to the batter next time, but they certainly don't need them. The glaze is so good, I wish I'd known how to make this years ago.

  11. These look so good! I definitely want to try making a batch of these cupcakes myself. The brown sugar-brown butter combo sounds delicious!

  12. My partner and I made these yesterday, and we are addicted! I am a major cupcake baker, and these might be my favorites. Thanks!

  13. Made in 8x8 baking dish instead of cupcakes. Put glaze after cake cooled, turned out great. Absolutely delicious!

  14. Can't wait to make these. After finishing up my duration of chemotherapy sessions I'm finally finding food looking delicious again, this hit my imagination to make these asap. Thanks.

  15. I just made these and my whole family loved them! The ony thing i did different was I added a few drops of Almond extract to the glaze. They were sooo good!

  16. I am waiting for the glaze to harden as we speak. I had quite a bit of leftover glaze...but it wasn't a problem. A straw may or may not have been involved. I cannot wait to have a cupcake!

  17. Everything was so perfect but my glaze is so crumbly. Please Help.

    1. was your butter still melted all the way? if so and it was still crumbly and dry, try adding milk, a teaspoon or so at a time, and whisking until it's completely incorporated before adding more. this should smooth it out.

  18. just finished making these, used the dark brown sugar... and extra rich vanilla extract, and OMG, these are RIDICULOUSLY amazing!!
    that soft caramel flavor with rich pound cake = ) YUM

  19. I'm planning on making these but they will not be eaten same day, how do they stand up?


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