Saturday, February 22, 2014

Brown Sugar Caramel Pound Cake

Day 61

Remember that I’ve been baking pound cakes on a disturbingly regular schedule for years now? That has been no secret on my blog, and it’s my pleasure to share with you the news that…I think I’ve found the absolute BEST pound cake recipe yet! In fairness, maybe I shouldn’t count it as “the best” since it’s not a plain pound cake, but I have to give credit where it’s due. This cake is incredible. 

You’re going to use this recipe over and over, and the world is going to love you for it. I fully understand that you are probably not quite as excited as I am, but just wait until you try it.
Photo by Ali Kapustin

I found the recipe on Facebook, actually. My dear friend from home, Deborah, had shared it on her page, and the picture looked lovely. So often though, I don’t trust Pinterest’s or Facebook’s “shared” recipes because they are frequently missing important ingredients or instructions, and rarely do they turn out as the pictures and directions promise. Having made pound cakes for so long, I’ve essentially memorized all of the possibilities out there, and these directions certainly looked legitimate. 

So, I gave it a try. The only issue I had was the baking time. It took mine much longer than the suggested 85 minutes, but every second was well worth the wait. Once the cake was out of the oven and cooled, I drizzled the caramel sauce, and it gently hardened as promised. 

Our family shared some of the cake with friends and kept the rest for the week, nibbling here and there as we passed the cake stand. It was rich, moist, dense, packed with brown sugar and caramel flavors, and absolutely beautiful. It was everything I expected from the perfect pound cake, and more. And as if that wasn’t enough, it was gorgeous, sliced on dessert plates next to steaming cups of café au lait. 

Today’s accompanying picture was taken by my stepdaughter, Ali; she agreed to quickly get a shot with her phone before we sliced it. If I had planned better, Doug could have taken a picture of the sliced cake, but it was a completely unexpected and spontaneous success—the best kind, really. Ali did an outstanding job, contributing the second set of photos for my recent blog entries. Thanks Ali! 

Pound cakes are the most comforting desserts out there, I think. They are so versatile and so easy to make. As a child, I made a promise to myself that I’d always have a homemade dessert for my family when I grew up, and I’ve tried very hard to keep that promise. As I sit here writing, this morning, I am really pleased that I made such a personal resolution because I do believe that my family really enjoys having something sweet to soften the hard knocks of our jobs and daily responsibilities. Some days, it’s just what the doctor ordered, to come home, put the kettle on for hot tea or for coffee in the French press, and unwind with a dessert and some peace and quiet. Life is good, for sure, but life is even better with pound cake. 

Thanks to Deborah for sharing the recipe and her friendship, and here’s hoping that each of you will put the kettle on, and have some of this caramel decadence. Go ahead, you deserve it!

Brown Sugar Caramel Pound Cake

1½ cups butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1-8oz. bag toffee chips
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Caramel Drizzle:
1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray with flour (or grease with shortening and dust with flour.)

Beat butter until creamy. Add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mix to batter alternately with milk, beat until just combined. Stir in toffee bits and pecans. Spoon batter into pan and bake 85 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. To prevent excess browning, cover cake loosely with foil toward the end of baking if needed.

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Spoon Caramel Drizzle over cooled cake.

Directions for Caramel Drizzle:
In a medium saucepan, combine condensed milk and brown sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat, and SIMMER for 8 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla. Let cool for 5 minutes before using. NOTE: Make sure you drizzle the caramel while it’s still HOT. 

When cooled, the caramel does somewhat harden.

(Originally shared by my friend, Deborah Kokinda, on Facebook; originally from Itty Bitty Homestead, also on Facebook.)

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