Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel-Rum Frosting

February 27, 2013

burnt sugar bundt cake + caramel-rum frosting & candied shards | une gamine dans la cuisine

Today, from a distance, I saw you,
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell. ~ Ted Kooser, After Years

Yesterday's heavy wet snowfall was a not-too-subtle reminder that winter is still around; stoic and seemingly immobile as ever. No worries, I'm house sitting in a lovely home with a gorgeous view of last night's storm and I have another pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen. I'm happy - slightly nostalgic (for...what?), but happy.

Also, I'm beginning to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to big bundt cakes.

burnt sugar bundt cake + caramel-rum frosting & candied shards | une gamine dans la cuisine

In the past, I've found regular-size bundt cakes to be dry, dull and forgettable; whereas layer cakes, with their clever simple syrups and buttercreams, have never failed to impress (lopsided or not). However, this particular bundt cake may be the exception. {In all fairness to bundt cake lovers, I have made a handful of Dorie Greenspan recipes that were also spectacular. It's just that great bundt cakes are few and far between.}

Even though I made this cake about two weeks ago, I can't stop thinking about it. It's a rather unusual recipe - calling for a burnt sugar liquid (caramel) made with coconut milk - used in both the cake batter and the frosting. Coconut milk keeps the cake soft and tender whilst lending a sultry je ne sais quoi to the frosting.

Even if you don't consider yourself a bundt cake fan, I highly encourage you to put aside any bad memories of bland, throat-sticking forkfuls of cake, and give this one a fighting chance. Who knows, maybe bundt cakes will start making more appearances here in the near future. Maybe. (Still *slightly* on the fence.)

burnt sugar bundt cake + caramel-rum frosting & candied shards | une gamine dans la cuisine

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel-Rum Frosting
makes one 10-inch bundt cake

for the burnt sugar liquid
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

for the cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (that's 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and softened to room temp.
2 cups granulated sugar
4 room temperature eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Burnt sugar liquid (recipe above)

for the frosting
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
2 Tablespoons dark rum
2 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
Burnt sugar liquid (recipe above)

Prepare the burnt sugar elixir: Have the cream measured out and ready to use. Place the sugar into a medium saucepan. Using a wooden spoon to stir, melt the sugar over medium heat. {Note: Stirring the sugar as it was melting went against everything I had learned about caramel-making, but, at least in this case, it worked.} As soon as the sugar turns a dark caramel colour, remove the pan from the heat and slowly stream in the cream while continuing to stir- Be very careful when adding the cream, it will sputter and steam and throw a dramatic fit. Once you've added the cream, return the pan to medium heat and continue to stir until the clumps smooth out - about 2+ minutes more.

Transfer the burnt caramel mixture to at least a 2-cup heatproof liquid measuring cup (such as a Pyrex) and add just enough coconut milk to make 1 1/4 cups liquid. Whisk in the lemon juice and divide the mixture in half; Set both portions aside.

Prepare the bundt cake
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan, dust with flour, and gently knock out any excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on med-high speed until pale and fluffy- about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the almond extract and beat for 10 seconds more.

Grab one of the reserved portions of burnt sugar liquid. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the burnt sugar- beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Once everything has been added, scrape down the bottom and side of the bowl and beat again for 10 more seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. {Note: I found it was helpful to add large dollops of batter into the pan with a large wooden spoon- instead of pouring everything in all at once.} Use an offset spatula to even out the batter as much as possible.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. {Note: I had to bake my cake for about 56 minutes total.} Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

Prepare the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the rum and beat to combine. Slowly begin beating in the confectioners' sugar- as the mixture thickens, start to add the remaining burnt sugar portion. Add just enough burnt sugar to make the frosting thick and spreadable. If, after adding all the burnt sugar, the frosting is too thick, add a slash of cream or milk. If it's too thin, add a little bit more confectioners' sugar.

Assemble the cake: Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the crown of the cake. Garnish as desired. {I used broken bits of hardened caramel candy.}

adapted from Baked Explorations


  1. a burnt sugar liquid (caramel) made with coconut milk = that sounds amazing!

    I have accidentally burnt (and I do mean charred beyond all to the point of stinking up my house for 3 days) some sugar recently...so a little less burned and some coc milk would be lovely.

    I love the description of this cake and that you can't stop thinking about it. Just means it's extra good!

    And another reason I need the Baked book!

  2. Oh, what a fabulous flavor combination and cake!



  3. Very unique and delicious looking and sounding, Your description makes me want to run to the store, get the ingredients and fire up the oven! :)

  4. Burnt sugar?! Caramel-rum frosting?! Loving this bundt!

  5. I can tell from your beautiful photos that this definitely isn't one of those dry bundt cakes...the combo of flavors is divine! Lovely, Val!

  6. I think I saw this photo posted on Facebook a while ago, and I've been waiting for the recipe. It looks amazing and was well worth the wait.

    Love the poem, too.

  7. I love big bundts, and I can not lie! He he. Yes, coconut milk in the caramel. This is so tempting. I just may have to tie up my hands so I do go run and make this. Hope you are keeping warm over there.

  8. I've definitely encountered one too many dry bundt cakes in my time. I'm so glad you discovered an exception, because this cake is gorgeous. The burnt sugar is pretty, and that caramel rum sounds frosting sounds good enough to eat on its own.

  9. Hmmm...burnt sugar + coconut milk = superb! I think bundt cakes are making a comeback! I like them 'cause they are so retro! I am hoping they make their appearance here more often :)

  10. I have this recipe marked since I bought the book, but never made it, though I do bake a lot of bundts. It´s gorgeous Valerie, and those caramel pieces are like getting a lollipop together with the cake!

  11. that is seriously a work of art - i feel like i should hang it up on the wall instead of eat it! it is gorgeous and sounds absolutely delicious Valerie!

  12. I just got a bundt pan for chrismtas, but have not made a cake yet. This one looks like it might be the winner. I was worried it would turn out dry and unimpressive!

  13. You've had me at the burnt sugar and caramel frosting, and the cake is so pretty. I'm intrigued to buy a bundt tin and try it!

  14. What a beautiful and unique looking bundt cake! I'd love to eat all that burnt sugar off the top!

  15. I'm such a bundt fan. I have got to try this recipe. I have the book and have been thinking about it for ages. Gorgeous, Valerie and so drool-worthy.

  16. I am honestly not a huge bundt cake fan, but yours is making my mouth water. You captured my attention with burnt sugar and caramel - two of may favorite things. Lovely photos!!! Hope your week is going well and that it begins to feel like Spring soon for you.

  17. I cannot believe you are still sceptic about bundt cakes after this stunner of a cake! It looks delicious and far from dry, and that caramel rum frosting? Yum. This cake may have not been enough to convince you of the virtues of an awesome bundt cake but I am sure any other bundt-cake sceptic would turn into a convert on seeing this recipe and the stunning photos!

  18. Holy cow, you are kidding me right? I think this cake is extraordinary. Gosh, I must have a slice!!!

  19. I love bundt cakes, they have so much more personality than a layer cake, and I feel better about new flavour combos in this form. This sounds so rich and unique!

  20. What?! Bundt cakes are sooo much better than layer cakes. ;) Just plop them out of the pan, dust with powdered sugar and TADA! All done.

    This cake is beautiful and the flavors sound really interesting! Nice use of coconut milk, too.

  21. I do love your descriptive right- throat sticking :)and I have to agree I've had a few of those and don't want to remember. Bundt cakes are last on my list of cakes to make too but I must take your word for it and make this one, especially if it's still on your mind.

  22. Oh, mahbejesus! How many photos did you take before you attacked that cake?! I don't know if I could get through a photo session with that gorgeousness staring at me. And then there's that topping ... I could get all barbaric on it and look like I'm in a bundt cake eating contest. I would so do that! LOL! :)

  23. Ah Valerie! What a beautiful blog! I love the recipe, the photos, and the words that went along with them. Your bundt cake looks perfect. Moist and flavorful. Thank you for sharing with me today!

  24. I must admit I have also thought of bundt cakes a rather boring but you have managed to make this one look delectable.

  25. I do adore bundt cakes, Valerie. Maybe primarily from nostalgia, as they remind me so much of my mother, but definitely because they are delicious and much more forgiving than layer cakes, at least for me. This is just gorgeous!

  26. I love bundt cakes and this one is a beauty! The burnt sugar with coconut milk is both intriguing and mouth watering. I am looking forward to trying this soon.

  27. Oh this cake sounds amazing! Caramel frosting is my favourite and the addition of rum could only make it better!

  28. There aren't many bloggers (friends?) that I've missed more than you, Miss Fabulous Valerie. Lots of things going on in my life but they're calming down now and I'm getting back into the groove. Your cake looks AMAZING (as usual) and being back on your blog is making me feel very happy inside. Love you to pieces!!

  29. This cakes looks like perfection and I love the caramel-rum frosting. :)

  30. This frosting sounds unbelievably amazing! I am pretty certain that I would just like to eat a bowl of it alone! ;)

  31. The burnt sugar liquid sounds AMAZING.

  32. I'm always hesitant to make a bundt cake (or maybe lazy?) but the double caramel here is calling my name!

  33. I think the hardened caramel candy garnish is what makes this cake impressive. Will you give us the details as to how it is made (did you make it) or where to find it?


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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