Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (2024)

Creme Brûlée Cake – Layers of vanilla bean cake baked on a graham cracker crust, filled with vanilla bean custard and covered in a vanilla bean buttercream.

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (1)

Creme Brûlée Cake

So let’s get right to it and start talking about this Creme Brûlée Cake! The idea for this was prompted by my friend Metta and her husband Clair. Metta loves creme brûlée and Clair has been begging me to “torch” a cake since I met him a few years ago. Good news for both of them, this cake covers both of those things!

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (2)

Graham Cracker Crust

I know a traditional creme brûlée doesn’t have any kind of crust, but I’ve had one before that used a graham cracker crust and it was heavenly. Plus, you know how much I like a little crunch and texture in my cakes! For this cake, I used my graham cracker crust that you’ve seen in other cakes like my Ultimate S’mores Cake and my Coconut Key Lime Pie Cake. The one difference in this recipe is that I added a little instant coffee to it. Now, that’s totally optional, but I promise you, the hint of coffee flavoring paired with the vanilla bean is out-of-this-world incredible! If you don’t drink coffee for religious reasons (which is me), you can use decaf coffee granules, a coffee flavored extract or Pero, a coffee substitute. I just think you’ll love the flavor balance it brings to the cake.

How to Stack a Cake with a Soft Filling

Similar to other cakes I’ve made, my Creme Brûlée Cake has a soft filling and needs to be assembled properly so you don’t end up with a giant mess and tears running down your face (been there, done that – here to make sure you don’t).

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (3)
Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (4)
Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (5)
Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (6)
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Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (8)

After you’ve applied your crumb coat, freeze your cake for about 15 minutes.

Continue frosting your cake with the remaining vanilla buttercream. Once you’ve done this, freeze your cake for another 15 minutes.

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (9)
Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (10)
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Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (12)

Storing the Creme Brûlée Cake

Once you’ve finished decorating the cake, and if you plan to serve it the same day, store it in an airtight container or cake box in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. If you’re making the cake several days in advance, don’t add the brûléed sugar and store in the freezer.

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (13)

How to Make Homemade Custard

This custard filling is incredibly delicious and not hard to make if you follow the instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place an 8″x8″ baking pan in a 9″x13″ baking pan. You’ll be adding water to the larger pan later to create a bath for the custard to cook in – so you’re looking for a pan that is larger than the baking pan that you’ll have the custard in.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream with the vanilla bean paste and the sugar. Turn the stove to medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • After the cream has steeped, stir in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add about ¼ cup of the heavy cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking continuously while you do so. This is how you temper the eggs. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly add the egg mixture to the remaining cream, stirring continuously while doing so.
  • Strain the custard through a mesh strainer and then pour the strained custard into your 8″x8″ baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the larger baking pan that the small baking pan is sitting in. You want enough water to go about half way up the side of the baking dish.
  • Bake the custard for about 45 to 50 minutes. The center should be barely set. Let cool at room temperature for 2 hours and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. I think the custard is best made one or two days before you’re ready to assemble the cake.
Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (14)

I have no doubt this cake will become one of your favorites like it has for me!

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (15)

Other Cakes You’ll Love

  • Macadamia Nut Cream Cake
  • Banana Cream Cake
  • Classic Vanilla Cake
  • Confetti Cake

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (16)

Creme Brûlée Cake

Vanilla bean cake layers baked on a graham cracker crust with vanilla bean custard and vanilla bean buttercream.

Servings 20

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

  • 3 cups (about 360 g) finely ground graham cracker crumbs , (about 27 whole rectangular crackers)
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee granules, alternatives: espresso granules, coffee extract, or coffee substitute: Pero

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature (save the extra yolks for the custard filling)
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. (13 g) vanilla bean paste, I use THIS
  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. (10 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. (5 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature

FOR THE CUSTARD

  • 2 cups (462 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. (4 g) vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, from large eggs (save the extra whites to make the cake)
  • pinch of salt

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 tbsp (13 g) vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup (57 g) heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.

Instructions

FOR THE CRUST

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.

  • In a medium sized bowl combine the graham crackercrumbs, melted butter,sugar and coffee granules, if using. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are damped by the melted butter.

  • Divide evenly between the three pans (about 8 ounces in each 8-inch or 6 ounces in each 6-inch) and press down firmly with your hand or the back of a spoon.

  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool while you make the cake batter.

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar for two minutes on medium-high speed.

  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg whites on medium speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between addition.

  • Add the sour cream and vanilla bean paste and beat until incorporated, about one minute.

  • With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ cup of the buttermilk. Repeat the additions, ⅓ cup flour mixture, ½ cup buttermilk and the final ⅓ cup flour mixture. Only mix until the flour mixture is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for another 20 to 30 seconds on low.

  • Pour about 18 ounces of cake batter into each of the three 8-inch cake pans (on top of the crust) or 13 ounces in each of the 6-inch pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes – until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Let cool in the pans for about 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. (Tip: spray your wire cooling racks with nonstick spray).

FOR THE CUSTARD

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place an 8"x8" baking pan in a 9"x13" baking pan. You'll be adding water to the larger pan later to create a bath for the custard to cook in – so you're looking for a pan that is larger than the baking pan that you'll have the custard in.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream with the vanilla bean paste and the sugar. Turn the stove to medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • After the cream has steeped, stir in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream.

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and pinch of salt. Slowly add about ¼ cup of the heavy cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking continuously while you do so. This is how you temper the eggs. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly add the egg mixture to the remaining cream, stirring continuously while doing so.

  • Strain the custard through a mesh strainer and then pour the strained custard into your 8"x8" baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the larger baking pan that the small baking pan is sitting in. You want enough water to go about half way up the side of the baking dish.

  • Bake the custard for about 45 to 50 minutes. The center should be barely set. Let cool at room temperature for 2 hours and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. I think the custard is best made one or two days before you're ready to assemble the cake.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy and pale in color.

  • With the mixer on slow, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and pinch of salt.

  • Once all of the ingredients are combined, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a couple minutes more.

  • Before using the buttercream, make sure to beat it by hand with a wooden spoon or large spatula to help push out the air pockets.

ASSEMBLY

  • Level each cake layer, if needed, and then placethe first cake layer, graham cracker side down, on a cake board.

  • Using a piping bag, pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake.

  • Fill the center of this area with 1 cup of the custard.

  • Place the second cake layer on top of the filling and repeat steps 2 and 3.

  • Place the final cake layer, graham cracker side down, on the second layer of filling. Carefully apply a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake. This is the crumb coat. Freeze the crumb coated cake for about 15 minutes.

  • Once the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.

  • OPTIONAL: Freeze the cake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle a layer of granulated sugar over the top of the cake and use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. Serve right away or refrigerate, covered, until you're ready to serve.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Cake

Keyword: Creme Brulee Cake

Heavenly Creme Brûlée Cake with Graham Cracker Crust (2024)

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