Burnt Sugar Cake (Betty Crocker: Circa 1956)

Total Time
1hr 25mins
Prep 1 hr
Cook 25 mins

This recipe is in response to a request for the Betty Crocker (1950-1960) version of the cake. I have tried to retain the authenticity of the period, hence the repetition of the ingredient amounts throughout the recipe. I hope you enjoy it. Mom used to make this one sometimes too!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Syrup: To make syrup first caramelize the 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy skillet over low heat until clear and medium brown, shaking pan gently to keep from burning.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add slowly, stirring constantly, 1/2 cup boiling water.
  4. Stir over low heat until lumps are dissolved.
  5. Measure and add water to make 1 cup liquid.
  6. Cool.
  7. Cake: Sift together into bowl, 2 1/4 cups sifted Softasilk flour, 1 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.
  8. Add 1/2 cup soft shortening and 2/3 cup cooled caramel-water mixture.
  9. Beat 2 minutes.
  10. Add remaining 1/3 cup cooled caramel-water mixture, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  11. Beat 2 more minutes.
  12. Pour into greased and floured pans (2 8-inch pans, or 2 9-inch pans, or 1 9 X 13 oblong pan).
  13. Makes a small cake.
  14. Bake until cake tests done.
  15. Cool.
  16. Finish with Creamy Burnt Sugar Icing.
  17. Preheat 350°F (moderate oven) 8-inch layers 30-35 minutes 9-inch layers 25-30 minutes oblong 9 X 13 35-40 minutes.
  18. Creamy Burnt Sugar Icing: First make another caramel sugar-water mixture following directions in recipe above.
  19. Caramelize 1/2 cup sugar.
  20. Add 1/4 cup boiling water.
  21. DO NOT ADD any more water!
  22. Melt in saucepan 1/2 cup shortening (part butter).
  23. Remove from heat and add 2 1/2 tablespoons Softasilk flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  24. Stir in slowly caramel-water mixture.
  25. Bring to boil stirring constantly.
  26. Boil 1 minute.
  27. If mixture curdles, do not be alarmed.
  28. Remove from heat.
  29. Beat in alternately, 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar and about 3 tablespoons water.
  30. Set saucepan in bowl of cold water.
  31. Beat until consistency to spread.
  32. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
  33. If it becomes too thick to spread, add a little water.
Most Helpful

this cake was fabulous. real full flavor...very rich tasting.no wonder it's been around so long. i followed the recipe exactly, but i did substitute the butter for the shortening and i did not have softasilk cake flour so i substituted (1 cup sifted cake flour=3/4 cup sifted bleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tbs. cornstarch). couldn't stop eating the frosting.

taylortwo September 23, 2002

Cake turned out well but was too sweet for my taste although friends thought it was good. Made it in a 9 x 13 tin. Seemed a reasonable size cake to me but recipe says 'Makes a small cake'. As the icing is so sweet, I only used half the quantity.

susan.brown September 29, 2002

'Turned out nearly the same as my Great-great Aunt's 'family famous' burnt sugar cake. I live at 8500 feet, and the next time I make it I will alter it slightly for high altitude -as the cake didnt rise and set very well. I will also only make half the amount of burnt sugar syrup for the frosting, as we thought it was a little strong. Other than that, it's definately going into my favorites book!!!

daleth_mccoy January 28, 2008