Burnt Sugar Cake
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk
- 2 1/3 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cake: Heat 1/2 cup of the sugar in a heavy 8-inch skillet, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and golden brown.
- Remove from heat; stir in boiling water slowly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar lumps are dissolved.
- Add enough water to syrup, if necessary, to measure 1/2 cup; cool.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch or three 8-inch round layer pans.
- Beat egg whites in small mixer bowl until foamy.
- Beat in 1/2 cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Reserve meringue.
- Beat butter, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the egg yolks, and vanilla extract for 30 seconds on low speed in large mixer bowl, scraping bowl constantly. Beat for 5 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Beat in syrup.
- Beat in flour, baking powder and salt alternately with milk.
- Fold in reserved meringue.
- Pour into pans. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean,
20 to 25 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes.
- Remove from pans. Cool completely on racks Fill layer(s) and frost with Caramel Frosting.
- Arrange pecan or walnut halves around top edge of cake if desired.
- Caramel Frosting: Heat butter in a 2-quart saucepan until melted.
- Stir in brown sugar, salt, and cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm.
- Gradually stir in enough confectioners' sugar until of spreading consistency.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
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