Friday, November 20, 2009

Sugar, Sugar and More Sugar

It's Cake Slice time. Or is it time for a slice of cake? Either way, I have one for you! This is our second cake baked from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. This months cake was a Burnt Sugar Cake which is different from caramel cake in that the burnt sugar syrup is incorporated into the cake and the frosting. In a typical caramel cake the caramel is just on the outside of the cake in the frosting while the cake itself is either white or yellow.

The burnt sugar syrup is made by melting and caramelizing white sugar then by adding boiling water to the golden goo. You then cook it down until the sugar and water become one. It took about 20 minutes for this to happen but it can be made in advance and waiting for you until you're ready to made the cake.

The cake itself was dense and sweet and slightly caramely. It was almost like the flavor of brown sugar. It was subtle in flavor but moist and delicious. The frosting came together really quickly though I thought it was way too sweet. It was like a really thick glaze in that the powdered sugar was combined with vanilla, a little butter and evaporated milk and the burnt sugar syrup. You mix it all up and frost your cake. It was simple but I didn't feel there was enough liquid in it to dissolve the sugar resulting in the texture being a little granular.

I'd make this cake again but I'd frost it with a different frosting. I wonder if it could be baked into a bundt and drizzled with a burnt sugar glaze? mmm.

Burnt Sugar Cake from Southern Cakes

printable version

Burnt Sugar Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water

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 right away.

Burnt Sugar 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 (recipe above)

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 for 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: I cut the recipe in half and baked it into 2 6-inch pans.

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

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.

Be sure to visit the other Cake Slice Bakers and see how they did!

32 comments:

Jean Badgley said...

hi there...I just wanted to tell you how much I like your blog. You are really honest in all your reviews of the things you do. Rather than just post recipes of things you make you describe them and tell me what you liked and didn't like..I wish more blogs were like yours...You do a great job! I look forward to each of your posts...thank you!!

Coleen's Recipes said...

This looks deliciously moist. I know what you mean about the frosting. My FIL used to make this kind of frosting regularly. Your cake is beautiful.

Denise said...

It is a gorgeous cake. I would like a bowl of those candied pecans you have on top. yum

Alicia (The Red Deer) said...

Your cake looks wonderful as always. I really like this cake so moist and yummy!

cookies and cups said...

The texture LOOKS great, too bad it didn't come out just perfect, but I think I would still indulge in a big ole slice!

Amanda said...

Absolutely gorgeous. Love the decoration!

Trish said...

One of the most beautiful cakes I have seen for a while. This looks simply yummy!

Jo said...

Monica, your cake looks absolutely gorgeous. Love the decoration and this makes a great cake to serve over tea. Of course changing the current frosting which I too think is way too sweet. Great job!

Lissaloo said...

I would trade you 3 DOZEN cookies for this cake, yum! I love the pecans on top it looks so pretty! :)

rachel said...

wow! I agree with you on the fosting..I did mini bundts with burnt sugar glaze and it was just right!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

It is always fun to see what you are baking next. I appreciate the suggestions on the frosting. I do love the flavor burnt sugar adds to a recipe. Thanks!

Sue

Ingrid said...

Monica you need to move to FL! I want to be your neighbor. With all the yummicilious food that comes out of your kitchen I wouldn't have to work so hard in mine! I'll just be your little helper working for food. LOL, you'd actually have the four of us vying for position to give you a hand! What does this have to do with the cake? I want some and I'm pretty sure the rest of my crew would love it as well. Picky pants (Babygirl) would probably agree with you on the frosting, she's funny about frosting or just a pain.

Great photos on this one. Btw, where's the recipe for those pecans? Or did you buy them? They're huge!
~ingrid

Megan said...

Wow - I've never had burnt sugar cake - on purpose, anyways. :)

Kim said...

That's one pretty cake! I definitely agree that the frosting was a bit granular.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

You need to own a bakery, Monica. It's your calling. I decided not to make this cake, because of the reviews I read...sorry. I've made a caramel frosting (on my blog) almost a year ago, that was good but didn't rock my world to the core. I LOVE caramel (and almond as you know). I like the idea of the bundt cake, though. I might try that and make a glaze. Great job, Sweetie. I so miss not being able to email back and forth. You know...life!

Dawn said...

You know I've known you for a while now and I have to say your photos have gotten so damn good. So proud of you chicklet.

Julie Harward said...

Yummy! My Mom used to make a cake like this..loved it..thanks for sharing this lovely! :D

Donna-FFW said...

I must say I agree with the previous comment.. you do need your own bakery. You have abundant talent adn an eye for presentation for sure!

Kerstin said...

What a gorgeous cake (as usual!!) :) I like your idea to make it into a bundt cake too!

Julie said...

This is awesome! Back in my early blogging days I tried to make a burnt sugar cake because I remembered my friend's mother making one when we were teenagers, and it was amazing. Mine went into the failure category, quite disastrous indeed. Yours looks scrumptious!

Kathleen said...

Love your review on this cake. I have this cookbook and love to have a review before I decide on whether or not to try a recipe! Bummer that the frosting was granular. Your photos are beautiful!

Katie said...

Your cake looks wonderful and I love the frosted pecans you used to decorate. I agree it was extremely sweet!!

Smitten Sugar said...

Monica...this cake looks amazing! I love the way your frosting turned out! I agree with you on the bundt cake with a burnt sugar glaze.

oneordinaryday said...

As always, this cake is stunning. Those pecans are the perfect finishing touch!

Forget FL....move to PA!
: )

Rachel (rachescakes) said...

When I first saw the picture of this cake I thought you had stolen it from Martha Stewart's website.

Pink Little Cake said...

I enjoy your blog a lot. Cake looks yummy, the decoration that you did is so cute.

Allison said...

I like your idea of a bundt cake with a burnt sugar glaze. Beautiful cake!

Stephanie said...

Your cake looks perfect topped with sugary nuts. I think this would be a perfect bundt cake with a burnt sugar glaze.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

that is a gorgeous cake! but i'm with you-- the cake itself was terrific, but the frosting was a toothache! would be nice to pair the cake with something else...

Grace said...

gorgeous--that's very nearly the perfect slab of cake.

lasinthekitchen said...

Wow, your cake looks absolutely gorgeous! Soo tall and the frosting looks perfectly swirled! =)

Adele said...

I'm going to have to show my mother this recipe. She LOVES burnt sugar cake that her mom used to make for her, but the recipe has been lost with my grandmother's passing. I'll have to try this for her next birthday!!

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