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Burnt Sugar Candy Bar Cake

First of all, I want to point out the link that I have added to the left sidebar on my blog. If you remember, my New Year’s resolution for 2008 was to have a blog entry about at least one recipe from each of my cookbooks. I have created a new blog (to add to the way too many blogs I already have) that lists my cookbooks with links to the recipes that I have made from them. This way I can be held accountable, and it’s fun for me to look and see which cookbooks I still need to cook from. It’s also helped me to stop buying as many cookbooks so that I can at least try to keep up!!

And I have so many recipes waiting to be blogged about – and this is one of them. I actually made this for a work birthday last month. I have mostly been doing cupcakes for work birthdays, but I decided to go for a cake for this particular birthday. I had this recipe picked out, and was so excited about it, but unfortunately it did not live up to it’s hype. But the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it really does have so much potential. The flavor was amazing, but it was much too sweet. I am obviously having a hard time finding that perfect balance, because this one was too sweet, and the last cupcakes I blogged about were not sweet enough!!

This cake is a burnt sugar cake. It might sound a little intimidating, but it was actually quite easy. The “burnt sugar” flavor comes from cooking the sugar until it is caramelized, creating a deeper flavor. The cake is filled with a brown butter frosting and candy bar of your choice. The picture in the cookbook showed many different kinds of chocolate candy bars, but I thought that Heath candy bar would compliment the flavors of the cake and the frosting the best, so I stuck with the one flavor or candy bar. The cake is then frosted and then topped with more candy bars.

When I was making this frosting, I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t stop taking little samples of it – it was just so good. But something happened overnight. It was still just as tasty the next day when I served the cake, but it’s sweetness multiplied. I will be trying this frosting again, but will cut down on the amount of powdered sugar added. I think by just decreasing it a bit, this would make an excellent frosting that would go well on many different flavors of cake.

The cake was gobbled up at work, but I would like to try to tweak a few things on this cake to make it better, because like I said before, I think it has a lot of potential. And it is a pretty impressive looking cake, because who isn’t impressed and eager to dig into something that is covered in candy bar pieces!?!

Burnt Sugar Candy Bar Cake
From Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen Favorites

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg whites
1-1/2 cups finely chopped assorted candy bars
1/2 cup butter (no substitute)
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter
6-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
Coarsely chopped assorted candy bars, such as Hershey’s, Mars, Nestle, or other (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease and lightly flour three 8×1-1/2-inch round baking pans or two 9×2-inch pans. In a large skillet cook the 3/4 cup sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar just begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat; cook until sugar is golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes more, stirring mixture constantly.

Carefully stir in hot water (syrup will form lumps). Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Continue stirring until mixture is free of lumps. Remove from heat. Pour syrup into a large glass measuring cup. Add additional water to equal 1-3/4 cups liquid. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat together the 1-1/2 cups sugar, the 2/3 cup butter, egg yolks, and the 2 teaspoons vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute or until mixture is smooth.

Alternately add flour mixture and sugar syrup to egg yolk mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Clean beaters thoroughly. In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold into batter. Divide batter into baking pans; spread evenly.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; transfer to wire racks; cool completely.

For icing, in a small saucepan heat and stir 1/2 cup butter over low heat until melted. Continue heating until butter turns a nut-brown color.

Remove from heat; cool for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl beat together cream cheese and the 3 tablespoons butter until combined. Beat in 2 cups of the sifted powdered sugar. Beat in the browned butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually beat in 4-1/2 more cups sifted powdered sugar and enough milk to make frosting of spreading consistency.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup frosting over bottoms of two of the cake layers. Sprinkle each frosted layer with half of the finely chopped candy. Stack these layers on cake plate, frosted sides up. Place the third (unfrosted) layer on top, rounded side up.

Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Garnish with the coarsely chopped candy bar pieces, if desired. Makes 16 servings.

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48 Responses to Burnt Sugar CandyBar Cake

  1. slush says:

    YUM! It looks fantastic. How could you go wrong with this cake? Cake, buttercream, candy bars, Oh my!

  2. Joy the Baker says:

    I love the burnt sugar and browned butter idea for the cake. But too sweet? Bummer. Still looks beautiful!

  3. Dhanggit says:

    oh my god!!! this cake is gorgeous!!

  4. michelle @ Us vs. Food says:

    that cake is beautiful, the the burnt sugar and brown butter sound fantastic. all the candy is making my teeth itch a little, though!

    not that i would kick that cake out of bed or anything.

  5. Emiline says:

    Wow, that cake is towering. I like it!
    It looks wonderful. I bet the burnt sugar flavor does really go well with the Heath Bar.

  6. Bridget says:

    Bummer that it didn’t taste as good as it looks! It certainly sounds great – I’m intrigued by burnt sugar desserts right now. I have a recipe for burnt sugar ice cream that I’m excited about making.

  7. Tempered Woman says:

    wow his sounds ridiculously good… too sweet huh? It might just be perfect for my freakozoid hubby then…

  8. Jenny says:

    That looks ridiculously delish! Definately on my “To Make” list! Yummm! I love making tall cakes!

  9. Meeta says:

    This looks so decadent. Cakes like this always intimidate me. I am in awe of those who create them. Nice one!

  10. Kelly-Jane says:

    It looks so good! and as someone across the pond, I’m so pleased to see a close up of a heath bar (!), I sort of thought they were like dime or diam bars, and they look it, but they are thicker, yum!

  11. Astra Libris says:

    Impressive indeed – and beautiful, and stunning… Oh my goodness that cake looks so delicious… Ooooh!

  12. noble pig says:

    This is down right sinful. I it looks divine and the burnt sugar does sound intimadating but you have explained the recipe perfectly. I think I will try it.

  13. Madam Chow says:

    Oh, boy, that looks good – CANDYBARS?! Mmm!

  14. Melanie says:

    Despite being too sweet, the cake looks stupendous! Really…a very stunning cake. And the burnt sugar title sounds so unique. I love it.

  15. Gabi says:

    What lucky people who work with you! The cake looks very appealing.
    I overdose on sugar very easily so I understand the “trying to find that perfect balance thing” I hope you tweak it and let us know what happens.
    x x x

  16. Cakespy says:

    I might call this…a hunka hunka burnt sugar love!!! Wow!

  17. Arfi Binsted says:

    Oh I can taste the flavour of the burnt sugar and candy at the same time. Must satisfy the sweetest tooth!!

  18. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    Oh Yeah! Looks GREAT!

  19. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    Oh Yeah! Looks GREAT!

  20. Mary says:

    OH MY! I really really want a piece of that cake now please. It looks fabulous and I love Heath bars!

  21. Michelle says:

    that cake is so pretty! I love Heath Bar!

  22. Ben says:

    Oh, I want that for dessert! It looks really good.

  23. glamah16 says:

    That cake looks fantastic.! Beautiful presentation.

  24. Peabody says:

    This looks so good. I love cake, I love candy bars…perfect!

  25. Shandy says:

    This cake looks fabulous! I can see why you would want to tweak the recipe if it is too sweet. Yum! My daughter’s teenage friends may beg to differ on the to sweet part. They are now into drinking those energy drinks, like the Monster drink. I can’t imagine a teenager needing an energy drink =},
    Deb. . .Again, Awesome Cake!

  26. Katie says:

    Oh wow! The cake sounds absolutely amazing, totally indulgant. What are the flavours used in health bars? We don’t have them in the UK.

  27. The Caked Crusader says:

    Beautiful looking cake – I’m rather partial to burnt sugar cakes. Too sweet? Does not compute!!!

  28. bbaking says:

    save me a slice? mmmmm

  29. Shari G says:

    Your photos are beautiful! The cake looks delicious and definitely worth a try. Burnt sugar and chocolate, yum.

  30. Catherine Wilkinson says:

    I like the end comment, “garnish if desired”…heck yeah, mama, I desire!!!! This cake is a showstopper!

  31. marye says:

    That is awesome! Wow..I was going ot make a cake today…maybe I need to make this one instead of what I was planning!
    oh..and thanks for stopping by apronstrings! I do like the crullers done that way..they flip themselves in the oil

  32. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, that idea is fabulous! I’m off to check the blog.

    As far as I’m concerned, adding candies to cake = perfection. 🙂

  33. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    Wow, that is seriously impressive looking! I love it!

  34. Jerry says:

    Oh my! I think this is added to my dessert list!

  35. bbaking says:

    aah you beat me, I was gonna tell you! x

  36. Brilynn says:

    I hope your coworkers appreciate all the work you do for them, the cake looks amazing and it can never really be too sweet…

  37. kellypea says:

    What a fun cake. And you’re so right — it’s pretty impressive. I love the idea of the burnt sugar and have seen it it with ice cream…YUM!

  38. Kevin says:

    That cake looks great! The icing does sound good. I will have to try it.

  39. Ginny says:

    I am drooling! Delicious! I can’t wait to make it!

  40. eatme_delicious says:

    Yummm drool etc! You always choose the most yummy sounding cakes and make them look so good!

  41. KJ says:

    That is one good looking cake. I think it would be irresistible.

  42. Suzana says:

    What a beautie! And I bet it’s delicious too. Loved the caramel/brown butter combo!

  43. Gigi says:

    Gorgeous, indulgent, candy and in cake form? The Perfect Cake!

  44. Kate / Kajal says:

    sounds wonderful.this is a new one for me and i’d love to give it a try.
    the cake looks wonderful.

  45. Nan says:

    HOLY CRAP that looks amazing. Beautiful cake!

  46. Cheryl says:

    Its amazing how when we think something is too sweet, how our co-workers just eat it right up. I think the cake looks amazing.

  47. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Uhhmm…yeah…my birthday is in June. I’d like one of these then. Kay? 🙂

    This looks DELICIOUS! Cannot wait to try it! (June, remember, June)

  48. Annina says:


    I’m annina and I love your blog! These heart cookies looks sooo cute! So.. I added your link on my Food-Blog! Hope this is ok! (www.anninasfood.blogspot.com) have a good day!

    greetings, annina

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