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Burnt Sugar Cake – A Laurel Highlands Maple Tradition
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Burnt Sugar Cake
Burnt Sugar Cake

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.