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Old-Time Burnt Sugar Cake

Submitted by: suzanne-mcminn on December 18, 2010
2 votes, average: 3.50 out of 52 votes, average: 3.50 out of 52 votes, average: 3.50 out of 52 votes, average: 3.50 out of 52 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5
Old-Time Burnt Sugar Cake

This is not a cake; it’s an adventure.

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Difficulty: Intermediate

Servings: 12

Prep Time: 1 hour   Cook Time: 25-30 minutes plus syrup-making time  


Burnt Sugar Syrup
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs (yolks/whites divided)
1 cup Burnt Sugar Syrup
3/4 cup milk
Burnt Sugar Icing


For the Burnt Sugar Syrup–

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups water

Dump the sugar in a skillet on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-low. You don’t actually “burn” the sugar–you melt it. Stir only occasionally. The less you stir, the better. Once it melts, add the hot water, continuing with your heat on medium-low. It will bubble up then calm down and melt together. Turn off the heat and set it aside to cool to room temperature while you start preparing the cake. The syrup is thin while it’s hot, but as it cools, it thickens.

Note: Using 1 1/3 cups sugar and 1 1/3 cups water, you’re going to end up with approximately 1 1/4 cups Burnt Sugar Syrup after it cooks down in the process. Your exact mileage may vary.

For the cake, preheat oven to 350-degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In another bowl, combine room temperature butter and the sugar. Cream. Add two egg yolks and beat again. In a small bowl, beat egg whites till fluffy. To the bowl with flour, add the creamed butter/sugar/egg yolks, the Burnt Sugar Syrup, and the milk. Beat well. Gently fold in the egg whites. (Do not beat again.) Divide into two round, greased cake pans. Bake at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. (Don’t overbake!)

Cool and frost with Burnt Sugar Icing.

For the Burnt Sugar Icing–

16 ounces powdered sugar
Burnt Sugar Syrup (however much you have left in the skillet! as noted above, your mileage will vary after your syrup cooks down)
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
milk or water as needed

Combine and beat till smooth and spreadable. If your icing is too stiff because you found yourself on the low side with your remaining Burnt Sugar Syrup, add a bit of milk or water. Frost cake and decorate with pecan halves. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Categories: Cakes, Desserts, Old-Fashioned

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  1. 1-6

    This sounds wonderful, Suzanne! I want it for my birthday cake!
    When I was young my Grammy always let me choose what cake I wanted and she would make it for me. Wish she’d had this recipe, it would have been my favorite.

  2. 4-23

    This is the taste of caramel, with the texture of cake. Amazing!

  3. 8-29

    My Mom used to always make a burnt sugar cake for my brother’s birthday. Mom’s been gone for 14 years now. I made this cake yesterday for my brother and he said, with a big smile, that it was just as he remembered it! Thank you so much for the recipe!

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