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Thursday, May 24, 2012

burnt sugar bundt cake with coffee caramel frosting.

I think burnt sugar bundt cake is really just a fancy name for caramel bundt cake, don't you? But it does does the job of making the recipe seem more intriguing.

In the picture in Baked Explorations, the cake seemed much darker and so I guess I should have cooked the caramel further but having used a dark saucepan, I couldn't accurately judge the colour of the caramel. If I had a darker caramel, it would be more apparent in the cake. I ended up with one that had a faint caramel hint reminiscent of light brown sugar.

The cake batter was one of the stiffest I've ever mixed up. I knew then that it was going to be quite a sturdy and substantial cake. Don't underestimate a small slice! I was pretty stuffed after trying to be a little greedy.

I went a little overboard with the baking time and the cake was a bit dry. So luckily I had the frosting although I do think that sans frosting and half an hour or so out of the oven with its crust all crispy and crunchy, it would be pretty darn good too. Anyway, the cake was supposed to be frosted with a caramel-rum frosting but I decided to switch tracks and go with my favourite combination of caramel and coffee instead. Any caramel macchiato fanatics here too? I used a modest amount of coffee extract that complemented the caramel tones instead of the other way round.

I scaled the recipe down to a quarter and baked it in a 3-cup bundt pan but I shall post the original quantity. Accordingly, I quartered the frosting quantity and I mixed it up by hand. I realized that using a whisk is a more efficient way of getting rid of those icing sugar lumps but whisking to incorporate the ingredients actually introduces more air which results in a loose soupy frosting. There's no harm done, but you just have to refrigerate it for a bit to get the consistency right. I had to rush to take some pictures before the sky darkened so I had no choice but to slather some overly soft frosting over. That's why it looks more like a glaze than a frosting, running down the sides and all. Not to mention the hole in the middle!

P.S. After frosting the cake, sprinkle some sea salt over it. The sweet-salty contrast is fabulous- I command highly highly recommend that you try it!

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake
adapted from Baked Explorations
makes 1 10-inch cake

Instead of coconut milk for the burnt sugar liquid, I used evaporated milk because that's all I had. I also omitted the lemon juice because I didn't see the need for it. Also, I reduced the sugar by a 1/2 cup because I felt that the caramel would have already given the cake extra sweetness. In fact, you can reduce the sugar even further.

For the burnt sugar liquid:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
about 3/4 cup coconut milk (I used evaporated milk)
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I omitted)

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to stir continuously to ensure even melting. When the sugar turns a dark caramel color, remove the pan from the heat and slowly stream in the cream while continuing to stir. Return the pan to medium heat and stir completely combined. Cook for about 2 minutes longer to ensure that there is no hardened bits of caramel. Transfer the burnt caramel mixture to at least a 2-cup heatproof measuring cup and add enough coconut milk to make 1 1/4 cups. Add the lemon juice. Whisk to combine, divide the mixture in half and set both portions aside.

For the cake:
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp burnt sugar liquid (above)

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 10-inch bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the burnt sugar liquid. The batter will be quite thick. Scrape down the sides and beat again for 10 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out mostly clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before unmolding.

For the coffee caramel frosting:

The original recipe was a caramel rum frosting but I very much prefer a coffee and caramel pairing. If you would like to stick to the original, use 2 tbsp rum in place of the coffee extract. If you don't have coffee extract, combine 1 tsp of boiling water and equal proportions of instant espresso powder. Allow the mixture to cool before using.

1 stick butter
1 tsp coffee extract
2 1/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp burnt sugar liquid (above)

Pulse the butter, coffee extract, icing sugar and burnt sugar liquid until the frosting is shiny and smooth.


  1. The "icing sugar" - is that powdered sugar?

  2. Such a pretty cake! I love that there is caramel in it. Caramel is tough to make. The line between perfectly golden brown and totally burnt is soooo fine.

  3. I actually clicked through to this because of the frosting's appearance! So pretty.