Bourbon Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pound Cake
Copyright Running Press
  • Yield: 12 servings


Pound cake
unsalted butter and flour, or flour-based baking spray, for pan
8ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2cup granulated sugar
5large eggs
2teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4cup Kentucky bourbon (I like Wild Turkey)
3cups all-purpose flour
3/4teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2teaspoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
3/4cup buttermilk
Butter-whiskey syrup
1/3cup granulated sugar
4tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/16teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/4cup Kentucky bourbon
Cinnamon-sugar coating
1/4cup granulated sugar
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16teaspoon fine-grain salt


Make the pound cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C.
  2. Butter and flour a 12-cup/4.2 L Bundt pan, or spray the pan with a flour-based baking spray.
  3. Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy and no lumps of sugar remain, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Beat in the vanilla and whiskey. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, turn off the mixer and set the bowl aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Turn the mixer on low speed and beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Place the cooling rack atop a large baking sheet.

Make the butter-whiskey syrup:

  1. Combine the sugar, butter, and 1/4 cup/60 ml of water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar melts, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat source and stir in the whiskey and salt.
  2. Brush the syrup over the surface of the cooled cake liberally using a pastry brush, or pour the syrup over the cake a little at a time, until all the syrup is used.

Make the cinnamon-sugar coating:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and sprinkle over the entire cake, allowing the excess to fall onto the baking sheet. Transfer the cake from the cooling rack to a cake stand or serving platter, using a cake lifter or 2 spatulas. Serve the cake immediately or wrap it in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature for up to 48 hours before serving.
  2. Store the cake at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap.

Note: Although I strongly suggest seeking out the real thing, there’s a buttermilk substitute that’s accessible and easy to make. Combine 1 cup/240 ml of milk or heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it thickens and slightly curdles. Use this substitute in equal measure to the buttermilk called for in a recipe. This substitute is best used in bread or cake batters.

Reprinted with permission from Sea Salt Sweet © 2015 by Heather Baird, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.