I love burnt sugar cake. I cannot tell a lie. The subtle hints of burnt sugar flavor along with vanilla overtones are amazing. What does burnt sugar taste like? Toasted marshmallows. No lie. And to make this cake, you first melt some sugar down into a syrup. And then you use that syrup as an ingredient in the cake and the frosting. I'll warn you though - the cake and the frosting are both very sweet. In the photo below, I made a layer cake and used vanilla custard as the filling and topped the cake with some fresh raspberries for depth and contrast. It was amazing. In fact, I'm a little sad the entire cake is now gone. I sure could go for a piece.
As well, I have to confess that the recipe below is one I found here. The only differences I made are that I filled the cake with custard (instead of frosting) and I used raspberries to adorn it instead of pecans. I also wanted a more stiff frosting, so I used more butter/shortening + vanilla. Be sure to check out that blog. She has some great photos to go with the instructions.
Burnt Sugar Cake & Frosting
Ingredients & Instructions For the Burnt Sugar Syrup:
1 and 1/3 Cup White Sugar
1 and 1/3 Cup Water
Step 1: In a skillet on the stove, add only the sugar. Turn on the heat and set to medium-low. Don't stir, just let it be. It will begin to melt. Just let it do it's thing. Go empty the dishwasher, pet the dog, enjoy a Diet Coke. Do whatever, just don't disturb the sugar. Let it melt until it becomes a thick amber liquid. This took about 5-10 minutes for me.
Step 2: Once it has melted, add the water by stirring in a little at a time. It will sizzle and talk back to you, but it will calm down. Little by little, add the water and keep stirring. Add all the water and once it is all incorporated, let it cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will now have a nice, beautiful and delicious burnt sugar syrup. Turn off the heat and set aside the syrup until later.
Ingredients and Instructions for the Burnt Sugar Cake:
1 and 1/2 Cups White Sugar
3/4 Cup Butter, room temp
2 Eggs (yolks/whites divided)
3 Cups All Purpose Flour + extra for preparing your baking pans
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Burnt Sugar Syrup
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 Cup Milk
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your baking pans by greasing and flouring them (I used a set of three pans). Set aside the pans.
Step 2: In your mixer bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until completely cohesive.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Then,add this to the creamed butter/sugar. Also add the egg yolks and mix on low until combined. While running, slowly add the milk and vanilla. Once combined, add the 1 cup of burnt sugar syrup and continue to mix until all combined. Stop and set aside.
Step 4: In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once formed, gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
Step 5: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans. Place pans in the oven and bake 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set aside and let cool.
Ingredients and Instructions for the Burnt Sugar Frosting:
1 Pound Powdered Sugar
Remainder Burnt Sugar Syrup
1 Cup Shortening or Butter (room temp)
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Step 1: In a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer) add 1-2 cups of powdered sugar along with the shortening or butter. Beat until well combined. Now, add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined. It should be very thick.
Step 2: Into the sugar/shortening blend, add about half the syrup. Mix well to incorporate. Add in the vanilla and milk. Beat well to incorporate. At this time, determine if your frosting is too thick, too thin or just right for your needs. If too thick, add a little more syrup and continue to beat the frosting until it's mixed in. Continue to do this until you reach your desired consistency. If too think, add a little more powdered sugar.
Once the cake has cooled completely, assemble the cake as you normally would for any other layer cake.
In my picture above, I used 1 cup of custard (2 cups total) between the cake layers instead of frosting. Once I frosted the cake, I added fresh raspberries to the top.