Burnt Sugar Cake – A Laurel Highlands Maple Tradition

This sweet treat is a local favorite. Often times, brides in Somerset County will request burnt sugar cake rather than the traditional vanilla or chocolate.

Burnt Sugar Syrup

Heat 2 cups maple sugar over low heat until melted; Resist from stirring too much. Remove from heat and slowly add 1 cup hot water. Stir together well. Return pan to heat and continue cooking another 5 minutes over low heat. Syrup will be thin when hot and thickens as it cools. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. Store in refrigerator in covered container.

Burnt Sugar Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 eggs (yolks/whites divided) 1 cup Burnt Sugar Syrup 3/4 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, combine room temperature butter and the sugar. Cream together then add two egg yolks and beat again. In a small bowl, beat egg whites till fluffy. To the bowl with flour, add the creamed butter/sugar/egg yolks, the Burnt Sugar Syrup, and the milk. Beat well. Gently fold in the egg whites. Do not beat again. Divide into two round, greased cake pans. Bake at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool and frost with Burnt Sugar Icing.

Burnt Sugar Icing


16 ounces powdered sugar Burnt Sugar Syrup 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla Milk or water as needed

Combine and beat till smooth and spreadable. If your icing is too stiff, add a bit of milk or water. Frost cake and decorate with pecan halves. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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