Crème Brûlée Cake

Crème Brûlée Cake is a decadent dessert that consists of a fluffy vanilla cake, filled and topped with a luscious vanilla bean pastry cream. The top of the cake is caramelized to perfection, creating a crunchy sweet crust.

Each bite of this cake offers a blend of delightful textures and flavors. This is a luxurious dessert perfect for special occasions or a sophisticated afternoon tea. And the best part is that it’s not difficult to make, and I will show you exactly how to make this creme brulee cake!

Crème Brûlée Cake Recipe

Here you will find detailed instructions with pictures showing you how to make this delicious Crème Brûlée Cake. On the bottom of the page you will be able to find the ingredient amounts.

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To make this cake you will need a 8″ or a 9″ cake pan. If using an 8″ pan, make sure it’s tall enough to fit all the batter. I used an 8″ Fat Daddio springform pan because it’s 3-inches tall which is exactly what I need to create a tall and fluffy cake.

But before we get to the cake part, let’s make the Vanilla Pastry Cream, which tastes exactly like creme brûlée, because well they are pretty much the same thing: custard.

Crème Brûlée Cake with a caramelized sugar topping, and vanilla pastry cream, on top of a wooden board.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

You can make the pastry cream up to 2 days ahead.

Start by mixing the seeds from the vanilla beans and the milk in a medium saucepan. If you choose to use vanilla extract to make the pastry cream instead, simply heat up the milk by itself, and add the vanilla extract once the pastry cream comes out of the stove.

Heat up the milk and vanilla beans, with the vanilla pods, until almost a boil, and you see the milk starting to bubble up. Turn the heat off. Let the milk and vanilla infuse while you prepare the yolk mixture.

first picture: saucepan with milk and vanilla beans added to the pan. second picture: saucepan with milk and vanilla beans inside. third picture: saucepan with milk and vanilla beans inside, and a whisk mixing the milk. fourth picture: saucepan with milk and vanilla beans inside.

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch for a couple of minutes, until the mixture becomes light in color, falling off the whisk into ribbons.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the hot vanilla milk in the bowl with the egg mixture, and whisk to combine.

Continue adding the milk slowly, while you whisk non-stop, to prevent the eggs from scrambling.

first picture: bowl with egg yolks inside and sugar and cornstarch added to the bowl. second picture: bowl with egg yolks and sugar whipped with a whisk. third picture: adding vanilla milk mixture to the egg mixture. fourth picture: whisking the milk and egg mixture together.

Once you’ve added the whole milk to the yolk mixture, whisk to combine. Then pour the custard back in the saucepan where you heat up the milk, through a strainer, to retain any bits of egg that may have cooked, and to retain the vanilla bean pods.

Place the saucepan on top of the stove, and cook the custard over medium heat, stirring non-stop with a spatula.

Keep stirring while the custard cooks.

Soon the custard will start to look like it’s curdling, trust the process, continue to stir and cook until a smooth, creamy, and thick pudding-like mixture has formed.

Remove from the heat. If using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean seeds, add it now.

Pour the custard into a bowl, cover the surface of the pastry cream directly with plastic wrap. Let it cool down, then place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

first picture: pouring the custard through a strainer into a pan. second picture: stirring the custard over the heat with a spatula inside of a saucepan. third picture: spatula with custard coating the spatula. fourth picture: custard inside of a bowl, with plastic wrap on top.

Vanilla Cake Batter

Now let’s make the Vanilla Cake Batter.

Line the bottom and the sides of the pan with parchment paper, grease the pan and the paper lightly. Set it aside.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds if using and beat for 2 minutes.

Add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time, mixing one egg until incorporated before adding the next one.

first picture: measuring cup with flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt inside. second picture: hand beating butter with a mixer. third picture: bowl with butter whipped inside, and added sugar, and vanilla beans. fourth picture: bowl with whipped butter and sugar inside, and an egg added to the bowl.

Scrape the bowl in between mixing.

Add the vanilla extract if you weren’t using vanilla beans. Mix to combine.

Add the sour cream and mix on low.

To the batter bowl, add half of the dry ingredient mixture, and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape the bowl.

Add the buttermilk, mix to combine.

Finish by adding the remaining flour mixture. Stir to combine until a smooth batter has formed.

first picture: bowl with cake batter and a mixer next to it, and vanilla added to the bowl. second picture: sour cream added to the bowl with batter. third picture: flour added to the bowl with the batter. fourth picture: milk added to the bowl with batter.

Spread the batter on the bottom of the cake pan and bake in the pre-heated oven until a toothpick comes off clean when inserted in the cake.

Let the cake cool down completely.

first picture: cake batter inside of a bowl, with a spatula. second picture: vanilla cake batter inside of a cake pan lined with parchment paper. third picture: spreading the cake batter in the pan with a spatula. fourth picture: cake batter smooth inside of a cheesecake pan.

Assemble

To assemble the cake, poke holes on the cake using a chopstick, a dowel, or the handle of a spatula.

Place the pastry cream in a piping bag, and snip the end with scissors. Pipe the pastry cream in each individual hole.

Spread the remaining pastry cream on top of the cake with a spatula.

first picture: vanilla cake in a springform pan. second picture: poking holes on a vanilla cake using a stick. third picture: filling up the cake holes with vanilla pastry cream. fourth picture: spreading vanilla pastry cream on top of the cake.

Place the cake back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle sugar on top of the cake. Use a kitchen torch to toast the sugar on top. Allow a few minutes for the burnt sugar on top of the cake to become crispy.

Serve the cake and enjoy!

first picture: sprinkling sugar on top of a cake topped with pastry cream. second picture: sprinkling granulated sugar on top of the cake. third picture: torching the cake with a kitchen torch to toast the top. fourth picture: toasting the top of the cake with a kitchen torch.

Tips when making this Crème Brulee Cake

  • Don’t over mix the dry ingredients once added to the cake batter.
  • To keep the cake from being dry, don’t over bake it. Bake just until a toothpick comes off clean when inserted in the cake.
  • When filling up the holes with pastry cream, fill them up enough so you feel the cake swelling up slightly, this will ensure you will have a generous amount of pastry cream in the cake layer.
  • Make sure to add a generous layer of sugar on top of the pastry cream before toasting it. Some of the sugar will immediately melt into the custard, add more on top so you have a white layer of sugar.
  • Remember to keep the kitchen torch moving evenly over the top when you are toasting the sugar, to prevent any burnt spots.
  • If you store the cake in the fridge and the toasted topping gets soft, simply use the torch to re-toast it gently before eating.
Crème Brûlée Cake slice on a plate, with custard on top of the cake and in the filling.

Why you will love this cake

This Crème Brûlée Cake is a sublime dessert! It tastes just like creme brûlée, but it’s better because it’s in cake form, so you have an added layer of fabulous texture and taste to elevate this indulgent treat!

The cake tastes so decadent and rich, with the silky vanilla pudding and the fluffy moist cake.

I hope you love this cake as much as me and my family did! We ate the entire cake in one day! It was seriously the best!

Crème Brûlée Cake with a caramelized sugar topping, and vanilla pastry cream, on top of a wooden board.

If you like this cake, you may also like:

Crème Brûlée Cake slice on a plate, with custard on top of the cake and in the filling.
Crème Brûlée Cake slice on a plate, with custard on top of the cake and in the filling.

Crème Brûlée Cake

Camila Hurst
Crème Brûlée Cake is decadent and delicious! This wonderful dessert consists of a fluffy vanilla cake, filled and topped with a luscious vanilla bean pastry cream. The top of the cake is caramelized to perfection, creating a crunchy sweet crust.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Servings 10 servings
Calories 315 kcal

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk 415 ml
  • 2 vanilla beans split and seeded or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150 grams
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
Cake Batter
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 223 grams
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature 170 grams
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 250 grams
  • 1 vanilla bean seeded (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 80 grams
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk 60 ml
Brûlée Topping
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Instructions
 

Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • Split the vanilla beans in half and remove the seeds. Place the vanilla bean seeds and milk in a saucepan over medium heat along with the vanilla bean pods and bring to almost a simmer. If using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean seeds, you should add it later once the custard is done cooking, so for now, just heat up the milk by itself on the stove.
  • Once you see the first bubbles emerging on the milk, turn the heat off.
  • Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl for a couple of minutes, until pale in color.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup of hot vanilla milk over the yolks while whisking. Do this slowly so you don’t cook the eggs. This process is called tempering the eggs, and you are supposed to add the milk slowly in order to not cook the eggs.
  • Add another little bit and whisk. Do this until the milk has all been incorporated.
  • Pour the custard back into the pan that you used to heat up the milk, through a strainer to contain any bits of egg that might have cooked, and to retain the vanilla bean pods.
  • Place the pan over medium heat, and begin to cook the custard stirring non-stop.
  • Cook the custard for a few minutes until it becomes thick.
  • When the custard starts thickening up, the mixture will look scrambled or lumpy. Just continue to stir and cook, it will come together and become smooth.
  • When the custard is thick like pudding, remove from the heat.
  • Place the custard in a bowl. If you didn’t add vanilla bean seeds, now it’s the time to add the vanilla extract to it. Stir to combine.
  • Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard so it won’t form a skin as it cools down.
  • Let it cool down, and then place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • You can make the pastry cream a day ahead.
Cake Batter
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Line a 8” or 9” springform cake pan with parchment paper and spray it with oil. If using a 8″ pan, make sure it’s deep.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed for 30 seconds.
  • Add the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds to the bowl, and beat together with the butter for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Scrape the bowl every so often to ensure everything is getting nicely incorporated together.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next egg.
  • Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
  • Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated.
  • Add half of the dry ingredient mixture to the bowl and mix on low to combine.
  • Pour the buttermilk in and mix.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredient mixture and mix on low to combine. You can also use the spatula instead of the mixer to fold the batter during this final stage. Avoid over mixing, to prevent the cake from turning out dry.
  • Spread the batter on the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Baking
  • Bake the cake in pre-heated oven for about 50 minutes. If the top of the cake is browning too much towards the end, and the center is not yet cooked, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • You will know the cake is done baking when you touch the top of the cake and doesn’t feel soft or jiggly underneath. Insert a toothpick in the cake, and should come out clean, without any gooey batter attached.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down completely.
To assemble
  • When the cake has cooled down, use a dowel, or a chopstick, or even the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula, to poke holes in the cake.
  • Place half of the pastry cream in a piping bag. Snip the end of the bag with scissors.
  • Pipe the pastry cream inside each hole you poked.
  • Top the cake with the remaining pastry cream.
  • Use a spatula to spread it out evenly and smooth it out on top of the cake.
  • Place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Brûlée Topping
  • Sprinkle a thick coat of sugar on top of the cake. The sugar will melt a bit into the pastry cream, just sprinkle more on top until there’s a thin white coating of sugar on top of the cake. This can take from 1/4 cup of sugar to 1/3 cup.
  • Use a torch to toast the sugar.
  • Wait a few minutes for the sugar to cool down slightly, and as it cools down it will harden and become crispy.
  • Slice and serve the cake.

Notes

Storage: Store the cake in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving. You can use the torch to re-toast the top of the cake before serving to make the shell crispy again.
You can freeze the cake for up to 1 month, wrapped in plastic, and inside an air tight container.
Baking: If using a convection oven bake at 325ºF. Baking time will vary depending on cake pan size and on your oven. Make sure to start checking at around 50 minutes, so you don’t end up over baking the cake.
Keyword cake, creme brulee

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