Crème Brûlée Cake

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Crème Brûlée Cake is a decadent dessert featuring a fluffy vanilla cake filled and topped with rich vanilla bean pastry cream. The top is caramelized to perfection, creating a delightful crunchy crust.

Every bite of this cake offers a mix of textures and flavors. It’s perfect for special occasions or a fancy afternoon tea. Best of all, it’s not hard to make, and I’ll show you exactly how!

Tips for Making Crème Brûlée Cake

  • Mixing: Don’t overmix the dry ingredients once they’re added to the batter.
  • Baking: To avoid a dry cake, bake just until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Filling: When adding the pastry cream, fill the holes until the cake swells slightly to ensure a generous amount of cream.
  • Caramelizing: Add a thick layer of sugar on top of the pastry cream before toasting. Keep the torch moving evenly to avoid burnt spots.
  • Storing: If the topping softens in the fridge, retoast with the torch before serving.

Crème Brûlée Cake

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Servings 10


Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk 14 oz
  • 2 vanilla beans split and seeded or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 6.5 oz
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

Cake Batter

  • 1 3/4 cups allpurpose flour 7.9 oz
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter 6 oz, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 10.5 oz
  • 1 vanilla bean seeded or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 2.8 oz
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 oz

Brûlée Topping

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar


Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • Heat the Milk: Split vanilla beans and scrape out seeds. Heat the milk and vanilla beans (or just the milk if using extract) in a saucepan until it almost simmers. Remove from heat at the first bubbles.
  • Temper the Eggs: Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until pale. Slowly add 1/4 cup of hot milk while whisking to avoid cooking the eggs. Continue until all milk is incorporated.
  • Cook the Custard: Pour mixture back into the pan through a strainer to catch any cooked egg bits. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract if using.
  • Cool the Custard: Place custard in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent a skin, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can make it a day ahead.

Cake Batter

  • Preheat Oven: Set the oven to 350°F. Line and grease an 8” or 9” springform pan.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar: Beat butter for 30 seconds, then add sugar and vanilla seeds. Beat until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  • Add Wet Ingredients: Mix in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla extract and sour cream.
  • Combine Ingredients: Add half the dry ingredients, mix on low. Add buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined to avoid a dry cake.
  • Bake: Spread batter in the pan. Bake for 4045 minutes, covering with foil if it browns too quickly. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.


  • Fill the Cake: Once the cake is cool, poke holes using a dowel or chopstick. Fill half the pastry cream in a piping bag and pipe into the holes. Spread the rest on top.
  • Chill: Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes.

Brûlée Topping

  • Caramelize: Sprinkle a thick layer of sugar on top. Use a torch to toast the sugar until crispy. Let it cool to harden.
  • Serve: Slice and enjoy!


  • Storage: Keep the cake covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let it reach room temperature before serving. Retoast the top with a torch if needed. You can freeze the cake for up to 1 month.
  • Baking Tip: For a convection oven, bake at 325°F. Baking times vary; start checking at 50 minutes.
  • Substitutes: Use plain milk mixed with 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice instead of buttermilk. Fullfat yogurt can replace sour cream.

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