Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake

Cakes are special, and they are meant to be shared. I may make a batch of cookies or pan of brownies on a whim or to satisfy a craving, but I usually reserve cakes for an occasion. Saturday night wasn’t anything extraordinary, just dinner with my in-laws. We started with spaghetti and meatballs. Later we played pinochle, an old fashioned card game our families still enjoy, and eventually cut into this cake.

I’ve made this burnt sugar bundt cake before, and it always elicits the same response. Ohhs and ahhs followed by silence as everyone takes it in.

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake

It’s not an overly complicated cake, but it does have a few extra steps. Caramelizing sugar may seem scary, but it’s actually surprisingly simple. It’s just sugar in a saucepan that you watch melt and turn amber in color, that’s it! No stirring, no candy thermometers. The burnt sugar is the star of this recipe, showcased in both the cake and the icing. It would be great any time of year but I think that caramel desserts go with fall particularly well.

I hope you’ll serve this caramel flavored bundt cake at your next dinner party or family gathering. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure and will disappear faster than you can imagine. Which is why I sadly don’t have any left to have for breakfast this morning.

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake

You may enjoy these other bundt cakes:

Apple Spice Bundt Cake from Mountain Mama Cooks
Brown Sugar Pear and Cherry Bundt Cake from Barbara Bakes
Banana Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache from My Baking Addiction
Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Pumpkin Glaze from Dine and Dish

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake
A moist and dense caramel flavored cake iced with caramel buttercream
For the burnt sugar liquid:
  • ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Approximately ¼ cup (59 mil) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the cake:
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cup (280 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (145 ml) burnt sugar liquid
For the frosting:
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2⅓ cup (265 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons burnt sugar liquid
To make the burnt sugar liquid:
  1. Place the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let the sugar melt and turn an amber color. Do not stir, but swirl the pan around to make sure the sugar is caramelizing evenly.
  2. Once the sugar is all melted, remove from heat and add the heavy cream in a small stream. It's okay if it gets a little lumpy. Return the pan to medium heat and cook while stirring until smooth.
  3. Pour into a 2 cup or larger liquid measuring cup. Add the lemon juice and enough milk to measure 1 cup. Set aside.
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla.
  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixing bowl in three additions, alternating with the burnt sugar liquid and ending with the flour mixture. Scrap down the bowl as necessary.
  4. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
  1. Beat the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla and the burnt sugar liquid until smooth. Add additional tablespoons of the burnt sugar liquid to reach desired consistency.
  2. Frost the bundt cake. Store in an air tight container at room temperature, it will keep for several days.
Adapted from Baked Explorations
Nutrition Information
Serving size: One 9-inch bundt cake

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23 Responses to Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake

  1. Krista says:

    That is gorgeous! And you are so right about cake being special. Brownies and cookies can be made on a whim but cakes are planned out and deliberate. This would be wonderful to celebrate with.

  2. jennifurla says:

    that looks ALL sorts of wonderful

  3. Renee says:

    I love this unique cake. I can’t wait to give it a taste.

  4. Sues says:

    Mmm I bet the flavor of this is amazing!! And it’s beautiful, too!

  5. Deb says:

    Your caramel Bundt is so tempting! A stellar nod to autumns warm, soothing flavors!

  6. tanja says:

    This looks delicious. As I am not big on frosting, do you think that this cake really “needs it” or is it ok to go without?

    • Annalise says:

      Nope, feel free to omit the frosting! I like the sound of that actually, I think you’re really going to love it.

  7. tanja says:

    Thanks! I will let you know when I make it.

  8. Deborah says:

    Now I’m wishing that I was throwing a dinner party tonight – just to have an excuse to make this cake right now!!

  9. Sara says:

    Can you explain how you did that garnish? Looks beautiful!

    • Annalise says:

      I’m so glad you asked! It’s 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon water, mixed together and then cooked over medium heat until melted and caramelized. Pour onto a silpat-lined sheet pan and let cool, then break into pieces.

  10. Tanja says:

    Just made it and it tastes amazing. Just one thing though. You don’t mention the size of the bundt you are using and i used a rose shaped one and there was a bit of an overlow (nothing major though)

    • Annalise says:

      I did put the yield as a one 9-inch bundt cake, but you’re right, I should put it in the recipe instructions also. Thanks!

  11. poonam says:

    Frosting is delicate portion sometime hard to place on cakes at home…Idea to decorate cake looks awesome … the vanilla flavor treats are so good!
    Perfect recipe.

  12. Claire says:

    Thank you so much for providing weight measurements on your recipe. I do have a question, though. A stick of butter is about 112grams, and 1/2 a cup. So the butter for the cake that indicates 1 1/4 c. or 141 grams doesn’t make sense to me. 141 grams is about 3/4 cup, give or take. Which did you use?

    • Annalise says:

      Claire, I’m afraid you have discovered my secret that I am horrible at math. The volume measurements are correct, I just didn’t convert them to grams very well. I’ve fixed the recipe now, and the updated butter amount is 1 1/4 cup or 280 grams. Thanks!

      • Claire says:

        Thank you so much! I originally made the recipe with the wrong amount of butter at sea level. It was delicious, but a tad dry. I noticed the discrepancy as I was making it again back home at high altitude. I used the larger amount of butter wound up with a delicious cake about 4 inches high. (Due to the altitude, not the butter.) I have some adjustments in mind and will keep trying. Love this recipe, and again, thank you so much for adding in the weights of most all the ingredients – makes it much easier!

  13. Chelsea says:

    I made this cake and people went CRAZY over it. I got so many compliments and I got a request to make it again tomorrow! Thanks girl!

    • Annalise says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of my most favorite recipes, people always go crazy when I make it too. :)

  14. Barb says:

    I’m hoping to try this recipe as mini cakes. Do you recommend any adjustments to the recipe?

    • Annalise says:

      Leave the oven temp the same, though you’ll need to adjust the baking time. Since I haven’t tried it myself I don’t know what to recommend, though I’d probably start checking it after 15-20 minutes. Good luck!

  15. Leslie says:

    This cake is amazing. Just baked it and tested a sliver. It’s like dulce de leche/ caramel flavored without the elastic texture and cloying sweetness. A perfect cake and another perfect recipe. So glad I found your site. Your recipes and photos are superb.

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