Brown Sugar Pound Cake

A frosted brown sugar pound cake on a white plate on a cloth-covered picnic table.

This brown sugar pound cake is perhaps the most aptly titled cake there ever was seeing as it calls for an entire 1-pound box of brown sugar. What results is a deep, rich, sweet cake. It’s a traditional Southern dessert, and surely you know just how notorious Southerners are for having a sweet tooth. But then, sweet is a subjective thing. If you’re a Northerner with a little more modest approach to sugar, the cake is quite lovely unfrosted. But if you’re from the South, God bless you and go ahead and make it even sweeter by smothering it in a quick caramel glaze.–Renee Schettler

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
4/5 - 3 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Southern Cakes cookbook

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Ingredients

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  • For the cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk, preferably whole
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • One 1-pound box (about 2 3/4 cups) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • For the caramel glaze (optional)
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Make the cake
  • 1. Heat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
  • 2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk and set aside.
  • 3. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in 3 additions, mixing well after each, and then add the granulated sugar all at once, beating well after each addition. Add the eggs, 1 t a time, beating well after each addition. Add half the flour and then half the milk, beating at low speed just until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Add the rest of the flour and then the remaining milk in the same way.
  • 4. Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 325°F (160°C) for 1 hour and 10 minutes (55 to 60 minutes for loaf pans), or until the cake is nicely browned at the edges, springs back when touched lightly at the center, and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • 5. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a wire rack or a plate, top side up, to cool completely, top side up.
  • Make the caramel glaze (optional)
  • 6. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and blends with the brown sugar to make a smooth sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk, and let the icing come to a gentle boil.
  • 7. Stir well, remove from the heat, and add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Beat well with a mixer, whisk, or spoon for 1 or 2 minutes, until the glaze thickens and loses a little of its shine.
  • 8. Use at once. If the glaze hardens, stir in 1 or 2 spoonfuls of evaporated milk to soften it.

Recipe Testers Reviews

I served this cake to six friends after a light meal. I served it plain, since I didn’t make the caramel glaze. Everyone liked it. The texture was dense, and it was sweet without being overwhelmingly so. My only issue is that the servings as stated must be huge. Two of my friends had seconds and then I brought the leftovers to work the next day to get finished off (not everyone was there, but that still meant about five people had a slice). Overall, this was very simple to make and used only ingredients that I almost always have on hand. This will probably land in my “in case of emergency” recipe stash.

It’s like a praline in the body of a cake. The buttery and nutty crust that formed on the outside of the cake was almost crunchy, while the texture on the inside was smooth, dense, and moist like a good pound cake should be. If you want to take this cake right over the top, serve it with buttered pecan ice cream while it’s still a little warm. This recipe is an easy and delectable twist on the venerable pound cake.

I made this brown sugar pound cake today. I always have these ingredients on hand, so I appreciated the fact that I did not have to go out and shop for ingredients. The flavor is spot-on - exactly what you would expect from a pound cake that uses a pound of brown sugar. That said, it has a rich, deep almost caramel-like appearance and flavor and is not overly sweet. I did not make the optional glaze, which I'm sure would make the cake much sweeter.

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Comments

  1. Hi, Rebecca. Convection ovens and cakes can sometimes get a little tricky. There are numerous articles on the web about conversion times and temperatures. If you have the ability to set your oven on a non-convection setting, you might get better results.

    Extra glaze? Wow, I never seem to have problem–perhaps because I am sampling too much!

    Beth

  2. Outstanding. The baking time was much longer than stated, even in my new convection oven, and the glaze makes about twice what you need.

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