Burnt Sugar Cake


This burnt sugar cake is my great grandmother's recipe, dated 1938. It is made with caramelized sugar.

2 9-inch round layers


  • 1 ¾ cups white sugar, divided

  • cup hot water

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • cup milk


  1. Place 1/2 cup sugar into a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until sugar melts. Continue to cook and stir until it becomes very dark brown. Remove from the heat. Add hot water very slowly and stir until incorporated. Set burnt sugar mixture aside to cool.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees F). Line two 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper.

  3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together three times.

  4. Cream remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in cooled burnt sugar mixture and vanilla.

  5. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately to the creamed mixture; beat until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

  7. Cool on a wire rack briefly, then run a table knife around the edges to loosen. Invert carefully onto a serving plate or cooling rack.

  8. Let cool completely before filling and frosting as desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

371 Calories
13g Fat
58g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 371
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 229mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 5g
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 80mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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