Brown Sugar Pound Cake

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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There are dozens of recipes in my family that were originally made famous in my grandmother’s kitchen, recipes of chocolate cakes, sourdough bread, holiday dishes, and highly praised appetizers.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.

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Cake Ingredients:

  • 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)

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cup light (or dark) brown sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and grease and flour two circular 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the dark brown sugar, white sugar, and margarine.
  3. Add the eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, while beating on low with a hand-mixer.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla to the mixture, and stir in completely.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 

Icing Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in small saucepan, and stir in the brown sugar.
  2. Bring the sugar/butter mixture to a boil over medium heat and boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the milk to the mixture and bring to a full boil again.
  4. Remove the icing from the heat and cool.
  5. Once cool, stir in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add hot water if necessary to spread.

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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’:

Pineapple Brown Sugar Crisp

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I love dishes that are half fruit and half granola/streusel topping. I love them, because depending on your mood and how you dress them up, they can make for a decadent dessert, a scrumptious side dish, or the perfect mid-morning/brunch option.  This delicious Pineapple Brown Sugar Crisp is one of those versatile dishes!

What is unique about this dish, is that with the presence of the lime juice and fresh ginger, there is a very distinct sense of sweet blended in with a kick of spice and zest.  People may see this dish and expect the sweetness of pineapple paired with the sweet crunchy topping, however their taste buds are in for a greater treat than just that!

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large fresh pineapple (about 4-1/4 lb.), peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into eighths, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (see this page for a demonstration!)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  Use your fingers to spread the butter into the other ingredients until it is pea-sized or smaller and the mixture resembles crumbly breadcrumbs (it should hold together when squeezed!)
  3. Place the crumble topping in the refrigerator, uncovered, and move on to make the filling.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, ginger, and a pinch of salt together. Whisk until blended.
  5. In a separate large bowl, toss the pineapple chunks with the cornstarch. Add the lime juice mixture and stir until evenly coated.
  6. Transfer the pineapple to a 9-inch square-baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil, but continue to bake the dish for about an additional 15 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling up around the edges and the top is golden-brown.
  8. Serve with a cool glass of milk, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just as is! You can’t go wrong! Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

Baked Grapefruit

Hello world! Happy Friday! It has been a while since I have posted a simple fruit recipe, so I thought I would share one of my favorite ways to eat grapefruit with you today.  I grew up in Florida, and have vivid memories of having grapefruit with my meals, dusting the tops with a little bit of white sugar, just as my parents did.  In the winter however, my mom would often chose to bake our grapefruit for a warm sweet treat. Her tradition was a simple brown sugar sprinkle on top of each grapefruit half, however after perusing so many recipe websites and books, I have seen several adaptations to this southern classic!

In this recipe I spiced up my family’s tradition by adding honey and cinnamon.  Another technique you can try is drizzling agave, maple syrup, or vanilla on top, or even adding a sprinkle of cardamom, or a cherry in the center! Whatever method you chose to use- this recipe is the perfect way to jazz up your dinner, or fulfill the role of an excellent and healthy dessert!

Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Grapefruits
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey*
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a small baking pan (a loaf pan or 8 x 8 inch pan) with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut the grapefruit in half. Using a paring knife, cut along the inside of the rind, gently separating the fruit from the outside skin.
  3. Use your paring knife to separate each triangle segment of fruit from one another- this can be tedious if you’re doing many at one time, but makes the eating process much more enjoyable!
  4. Drizzle each grapefruit half with a teaspoon of honey.
  5. Sprinkle the tops of the grapefruits with 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar – you may not need a full Tablespoon, or you may wish for more! However, 1 Tablespoon is a good starting place.
  6. Lightly sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top of the honey and brown sugar.
  7. Place the grapefruit halves in the aluminum foil-lined pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until warm all the way through and the brown sugar is slightly caramelized.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes and Tips!:

  • If you are vegan and abstain from honey, simply replace the honey with agave! Although agave does not have the same thickness that honey does, so you may want to use slightly less- it will run more.
  • Looking for more healthy fruit recipes? Check out my chocolate-covered banana bites and Graham Cracker Crumb Fruit dip!