A Delicious Sugar and Frosting Bomb: Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze

Recently I was browsing the online version of the Los Angeles Times Food Section when I came across an article compiling the newspaper's top 10 recipes of 2007. The first recipe included in the article was a very tempting-sounding "Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze." The attractive picture of the cake accompanying the article sealed the deal; I knew I had to try out the recipe.

The cake recipe calls for an entire 1-pound box of dark brown sugar, which I thought was mildly excessive. My cake took 90 minutes to finish baking instead of the 70 minutes specified in the recipe. I wish I had taken a picture of the cake after I unmolded it from the pan and before I frosted it, because it looked just lovely. The glaze was not difficult to make at all, but the recipe produced an enormous quantity of it. I figured, what the heck, I might as well pour the entire batch of glaze over the cake -- since what else was I going to do with it?! -- and I ended up with an unsightly and clumsy-looking mess. The ridiculous amount of uneven tan glop on the cake looked like a junior high Home Ec. project gone terribly wrong.

Normally when I bake a cake in a tube pan, I take it to the office intact and let people cut and serve their own slices. But I could not bear to let anyone else lay eyes on this monstrosity. Instead, I cut the cake into 24 slices -- which all looked fine -- and took the slices into the office. At least the glaze set firm and there was no problem with it staying adhered to the cake after slicing.

This cake was incredibly delicious. I was afraid that it was going to be too sweet (total sugar for the cake and frosting put together: 1 pound dark brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar + 1 cup light brown sugar + 4 cups powdered sugar), but the sweet flavor of the cake had both depth and interest due to the molasses in the brown sugars. A co-worker commented that it tasted just like the brown sugar flavor of Häagen-Dazs Five ice cream. The cake crumb had a very fine and tender texture and the frosting was sweet but flavorful. Tom and I both agreed that the cake was so good it didn't even need the glaze, but that said, the glaze was very tasty. This cake was a little different from a run of the mill vanilla pound cake and I hope to be making it regularly from now on (and to figure out how to glaze it in a more attractive fashion). Don't let all the sugar and glaze scare you. This recipe is a really wonderful find.

Recipe: "Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze," adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott, printed in the August 22, 2007 Los Angeles Times.