Burnt Sugar Cake

burnt sugar cake

So far, this is my favorite recipe from these little Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks. It’s amazing. Why it didn’t win first prize is baffling. The Burnt Sugar Cake from Pillsbury’s 3rd Grand National Bake-Off Contest, 1952 was developed by Dolores H. Schlesser, Junior winner from Iowa.

I’ve made this cake a few times & every time I change it up a bit. I don’t have an 8″ cake pan, mine is 9″. That’s why it looks a little flat. I’m sure it would be taller in an 8″ pan.  I rarely have vanilla extract, so I used rum. Other than that, it’s pretty much like the original. It will dirty a few pans & bowls, but it’s totally worth it!

This recipe could easily be dressed-up with nuts, dried fruit, spices or lemon extract, etc.

3rd pillsbury cookbook

Cake ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt           
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg plus 2 yolks
  • 1 tablespoon rum

Caramel Frosting ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar syrup

Melt ¾ cup sugar in a heavy skillet, over low heat until light brown. This takes about 10 minutes and the sugar will start to smell like sweaty gym socks. Stir constantly. 

melt sug step 1squ

Remove from heat and cool slightly. VERY SLOWLY, stir in ½ cup boiling water. Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until all of caramel is dissolved. Cool. Reserve 2 tbsp for frosting.

melt sugar

Pour rest of syrup into a measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream remaining 3/4 cup sugar with butter. Beat in eggs, yolks and rum. Mix in half the dry ingredients, then half of the milk. Repeat.

Pour into two 8-inch, greased & floured cake pans.

Bake 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cool & Frost.

For Caramel Frosting:

Combine all ingredients in top of double boiler. Cook over rapidly boiling water, beating with rotary beater until thick enough to spread. It will start to look like melted marshmallows.

Remove from heat. Spread on cooled cake.

whip frosting 1

Almost done, keep fluffing.

Find the rest of the Pillsbury recipes here


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