September 24, 2012

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Brown sugar is the gypsy of the baking world. Granulated sugar is everywhere, in everything. White, sweet, simple, boring. Don't get me wrong, it's great stuff. I use it all the time. But by itself? Eh. Switch half of it out for brown, and you get chewier, richer cookies, crisper crusts on loaf cakes. And who uses anything other than brown sugar on oatmeal??

Brown sugar says decadence. Brown sugar says deep, rich flavors. Brown sugar makes caramel. It dances on bare feet in a red skirt, making eyes at your husband. It gets very few recipes all to itself, but when it does? Watch out.

Okay, so you might chuckle at my imagery, but I like it. It popped into my head and begged to be written. Just like this cake popped up on Pinterest and begged to be made. And just like the classic gypsy mystique, it will keep you guessing... in this case, wondering, "Was it really that good?? I think I need another bite..."

Yes. It is really that good.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake (adapted from Dana Treat via Pinterest)
Printable Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk (Mine didn't rise much, I think I would try yogurt instead next time)
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter and flour two 8×4-inch loaf pans, knocking out excess flour. (Or grease and line with parchment paper!)  Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes, until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar (I measured it into a bowl, then spooned it into the mixer) and beat for another 3 minutes, increasing the speed to medium-high. The mixture should look very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beat well after each one. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.

Combine the milk and vanilla. Slowly add a third of the flour, then half of the milk. Repeat with another third of flour, and rest of milk. Gently fold in the last third of flour by hand.
Turn the batter into the prepared pans.
 Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, checking after 55 minutes and every 5 to 10 minutes thereafter, until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out with just moist crumbs attached. (I should have baked mine a hair longer!) If the cake is very brown after 55 minutes but not yet fully baked, cover the top with a sheet of aluminum foil. When done, the cake will be springy to the touch and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

Brown Sugar Glaze (for 2 cakes)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then add the brown sugar and raise the heat to medium. Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the cream and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Sift 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar over the mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth. If the glaze is thick enough for your liking, you can stop there. If not, sift the additional 1/4 cup sugar in. Place the cake (still on the wire rack) over a wax paper lined baking sheet. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and allow it to drip down the sides. Allow the glaze to set completely before slicing and serving. Wrapped carefully, this cake will keep for several days at room temperature.
Wait for the glaze to set?? As IF!!
This cake was even better than I expected, by being less. Less rich, less sweet, less dense. It's surprisingly light! And the brown sugar flavor is beautiful, and definitely present, but more delicate than I thought it would be! It's just plain luscious.
And that glaze... oh heaven, the glaze! I tweaked it a bit, and took it in a more caramel-y direction, and I think it's fabulous. I would stop at the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar next time, more drizzle-y.
Stephen: "Let's just have this for dinner."


  1. ahh, I'm with Stephen! Let's just have this for dinner!! Looks wonderful April! I love Pinterest. You can find some very delicious things on there. I love the beautiful qualities that Brown Sugar brings to things you bake it with. It always adds an extra depth of flavour, colour and moistness! Love you lots!! xxoo

  2. I'm new follower visiting from StonGable...when I saw this glaze oozing and dripping with sweet delish goodness,I had to come "pin" to my copycat board.Hope you don't mind....drop by LoblollyLane if ya can.

  3. Gosh that cake looks so amazing! Yum! It would be sooo dangerous for me to have two of those in my house lol. Thanks for sharing the recipe :).

  4. I agree with Stephen! (big, or little?) I also agree with everything that you said about brown sugar. Mmmmmm!

  5. I LOVE your imagery. If brown sugar is a gypsy, what is molasses?


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