Friday, November 20, 2009

Cake Slice: Burnt Sugar Cake

There are three words that up until today have never been uttered by me.

"Too Much Sugar."

I have a massive sweet tooth so when this recipe came up at "The Cake Slice" I was all for it. And in the cakes defense, I really liked the cake portion of it. The frosting, however, was way too much for me.

This is greatly upsetting to a sugar/frosting junkie like myself. Back in the day, I could happily eat frosting out of the can and skip the cake altogether. So maybe this is just a cake of my taste buds growing up and leaving the rest of me behind.

I did modify the recipe slightly as I was not up for having that much cake lying around the house waiting to attack me so I made only a single layer cake. Also, I should confess that the bottom layer didn't cook properly and caved in the center before falling apart when I tried to pop it out of the pan after cooling.

I might make the cake again using a different frosting considering the extra steps it would have to be for a special occasion. It's good but very very sweet.

November’s Cake: Burnt Sugar Cake

(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)

For the Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1¾ cups sugar
4 eggs
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (below)

For the Burnt Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

For the Burnt Sugar Frosting
3¾ cups confectioners sugar
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (above)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 – 3 tbsp evaporated milk or normal milk

Method – Burnt Sugar Syrup

Heat the sugar in a cast iron skillet or another heavy bottomed pan with high sides. Heat over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts into a clear brown caramel syrup. It should be the colour of tea. Gradually add the boiling water, pouring it down the sides of the pan so that if the syrup foams and bubbles up, you should be protected.

Continue cooking, stirring often, until the water combines with the syrup and turns a handsome brown syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Store the cooled syrup in a sealed jar if not using straight away.

Method - Cake

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer at high speed for 2 – 3 minutes, until they are well combined. Stop now and then to scrape the bowl down. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well each time. Pour in half a cup of the burnt sugar syrup and beat well. Add a third of the flour mixture and about half of the milk, beating at a low speed, until just incorporated. Mix in another third of the flour and the rest of the milk. Finally, add the remaining flour.

Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched gently in the centre and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for15 minutes. Turn out the cakes into the wire rack to cool completely.

Method – Burnt Sugar Frosting
In a large bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, the burnt sugar syrup, butter and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then to bring the ingredients together. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk and continue beating until the frosting is thick, soft, smooth and easy to spread. Add a little more sugar if it is thin, and a little more milk if it is too thick.

To Assemble
Place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or serving plate. Scoop about ¾ cup of the frosting onto the cake. Spread to the edges and place the second cake layer over it, top side down. Frost the sides of the cake, and then the top until it is evenly covered.


  1. Wow, no wonder that icing was so sweet... icing sugar AND burnt sugar syrup? Ack, I'm having a sugar overdose just thinking about it! Anyway, the cake does look gorgeous with the frosting on top.

  2. Your cake looks great, but I definitely agree with you on "too much sugar". I couldn't wait to brush my teeth when i was through eating a piece.

  3. I'm a sugar/frosting junkie too. I'm the one that laughs at the grown-up who only eat the cake and leave the frosting. But I with this cake I turned into the very people that I laugh at.

  4. Your cake looks great although I agree with you that it was tooth achingly sweet!

  5. Your cake looks great but I do totally agree with you "TMS"! However if you cut it down substantially, the cake somehow works. But leave the frosting behind.

  6. I agree with ou about it being super sweet. I think all it needed was a little drizzle of frosting, if that. The cake was great though.

  7. It is a very sweet cake - but I loved it!

  8. Posting late in my thanks to everyone for responding. It was a sweet cake and I'm glad I made it. Frosting maybe I could get used to after while :)

    Alica, thanks for joining my blog! I hope you enjoy my assorted ramblings and recipes :)