Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: 'Burnt Sugar Icing' a delicious cake addition


Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.



• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

• 2 tablespoons carmelized sugar syrup

• 2/3 cup evaporated milk or cream

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla


Put 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy frying pan. Heat on low until melted. Continue heating until sugar begins to smoke. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir and cook on low until the syrup is thick and smooth. Cook together the syrup, sugar and milk until mixture forms a soft ball in cold water. Add butter. Cool to lukewarm and beat until creamy. Add vanilla and spread. (Recipe by Judy Osborn)

— Years ago, when I was a youngster, my mother, Judy Osborn, made some interesting and delicious cakes. For example, I remember that she made a "money cake" for special occasions. She washed and then wrapped coins in wax paper and baked them into a cake. I'm not sure what cake recipe she used (and it probably doesn't matter), but the cake was round and two-layered.

What fun it was to find the coins.

I also remember her "Burnt Sugar Cake." It was made from an old-time recipe that was time-consuming to prepare, but the cake's flavor was wonderful. Unfortunately, I do not have the cake recipe.

However, I found the recipe for "Burnt Sugar Icing" that went on the cake.

I had copied the recipe onto cards, and, by the looks of my handwriting, I must have been a teenager at the time.

The icing could be used for other cakes, too, so I'm featuring it in this week's column. If you have a recipe for the "Burnt Sugar Cake," could you please let me know?

The secret of the icing is the carmelized sugar syrup. It requires melting sugar-thus the name "burnt sugar."

Make the syrup first.

To make "Caremelized Sugar Syrup," you'll need: 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup boiling water.

You'll also need a heavy frying pan. I think my mother probably used a cast iron skillet, but if you have a glass top stove (as I have), it might be too heavy.

Anyway, select a heavy pan.

Heat 1/2 cup sugar in the pan over low heat. Gently move the pan from one side to the other in order to distribute the sugar. Heat until the sugar is melted and begins to smoke. Remove the pan from the heat.

Carefully add 1/2 cup boiling water all at one time. (The steam from the water can burn your hand so take care.) Stir and cook on low heat until the syrup is smooth and thick.

Set aside.

For the "Burnt Sugar Icing" you'll need: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of the carmelized sugar syrup, 2/3 cup of evaporated milk or cream, 2 tablespoons of butter*, and 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla. (*According to a note on Mom's recipe, she didn't use the butter.)

Cook together the sugar, syrup and milk until the mixture forms a soft ball in cold water. Add the butter. Let it cool to lukewarm, and then beat until creamy. Add the vanilla and spread the icing on the cake.

If you have the cake recipe, please let me know. I can be reached at 824-8809 or by writing to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig 81626.


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