My grandmother could cook. I feel like most people my age can say that with confidence, because our grandmothers from the 1950s were expected to cook, sad but true. However, I truly believe that not only did my grandmother fit the stereotype for her time of the perfect housewife, but that she truly loved being creative in the kitchen, providing for her family, and gathering loved ones around the table.
There are dozens of recipes in my family that were originally made famous in my grandmother’s kitchen, recipes of chocolate cakes, sourdough bread, holiday dishes, and highly praised appetizers. Her recipes, still to this day, are popular requests for every church potluck, birthday, and ordinary Wednesday in our family.
This cake recipe, is just one of those examples.
My wonderful boyfriend turned 22 this summer (Happy belated birthday Brian!). I sadly could not be with him on that day, which I hated, so to make up for my absence, I baked him a belated birthday cake. [enter brown sugar pound cake here].
I originally planned to make a classic southern caramel cake, but as I flipped through cookbooks and perused the internet, I remembered trying this brown sugar pound cake of my grandmother’s and knew this was the winner.
This cake is moist in the middle, with a thick strong layer of icing that is completely impossible to resist, and very similar to that of a classic southern caramel cake. Baked either in a bunt pan or as a double-layer round cake, the presentation only adds to the glory of this cake.
Special occasions and special people are worth celebrating. It is an honor to share this recipe with you all, a recipe that I learned from one person that I love, and had the privilege to share with another person I love. I hope all your cooking can be just that rich.
- 1 pound dark brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ pound margarine (2 sticks)
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (sift with flour)
- 2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cup light (or dark) brown sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and grease and flour two circular 9-inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl, cream together the dark brown sugar, white sugar, and margarine.
- Add the eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, while beating on low with a hand-mixer.
- Add the milk and vanilla to the mixture, and stir in completely.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and pecans (if desired) to the liquid mixture. Using a whisk, mix the flour into the batter until completely blended and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the two prepared circular cake pans, evenly distributing. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked all the way through and slightly brown on top. Cool completely before icing.
- Melt the butter in small saucepan, and stir in the brown sugar.
- Bring the sugar/butter mixture to a boil over medium heat and boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the milk to the mixture and bring to a full boil again.
- Remove the icing from the heat and cool.
- Once cool, stir in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add hot water if necessary to spread.
Notes and Tips!:
- I left the nuts out of my recipe when making this cake, due to a food allergy. The cake did perfectly fine without the pecans, however if you wish to add the nuts, consider either mixing the nuts into the batter, or distributing over the layer of icing between the two cakes. In other words, ice the top of your bottom cake, pour the nuts over the icing, and then place the second cake on top of that. This provides a layer of brown-sugar pecan crunch between the cakes. You may also garnish the top of the cake with copped pecans.
- Source: Anne Wells (my grandmother)
- If using a bunt cake, you may half the icing ingredients.
- Looking for more delicious desserts? Check out these other treats from ‘a rented kitchen’: