When I used to live in Seattle there was a fabulous dessert shop in Fremont on the corner of some street and another. As you can tell, I was much more interested in the shop than the location.
Anyway, I believe the name of the shop was, “Just Desserts.” Simple, straightforward, and lovely in every way.
Their pastry cases were filled with every kind of pie and cake that you could imagine.
Every time I’d enter that little heavenly place, I’d be in awe. The smells, the sweet delights, the frostings. Oh it was glorious.
Even with all of the ridiculously gorgeous distractions, the cakes were always my passion. The cake was light and fluffy. The thick (oh so thick) frosting was rich and of course chocolatey (because nothing but chocolate matters). Nothing pretentious, just down-home desserts.
The shop and it’s luscious cakes always felt like something out of a southern grandma’s or auntie’s kitchen. Or at least what I imagine one would be like. The kind where you get to lick the spatula after the batter was poured into the pan. Warm and cozy and inviting.
Today, if I’m lucky, I will have slightly recreated the beauty of the shop’s desserts. This cake is for my dad’s surprise 80th birthday party. He is one of the greatest people I have every known. He’s a rockstar and I could not love him more! So Pop, this one’s for you!
Warning: This recipe makes a ton of glaze, so just be aware of that. Paul and I ended up pouring way too much over the cake and filled the whole in the middle (that’s why the rose is there… mistake hiding trick) along with almost spilling glaze over the side of the cake dish. Sorry, not sorry. The Chenoweths never shy away from any kind of sugary dessert so it works for our family. I would suggest spooning as much as you’d like over the cake and then refrigerating the rest. You can heat it up later and pour it over your favorite ice cream. Perfect follow up treat.
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Quick Caramel Glaze (recipe care of Nancie McDermott and Southern Cakes)
CAKE INGREDIENTS: 3 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 cups butter (softened), one 1 pound box (about 2 3/4 cups) dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 5 eggs
CAKE DIRECTIONS: Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan, or two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in 3 batches, and then add all of the white sugar, beating well after each addition. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Add half the flour, and then half the milk, beating at low speed only until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Add in the rest of the flour, and then the remaining milk, in the same way. Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake ate 35 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes (55 to 60 minutes for loaf pans), or until the cake is nicely browned at the edges, springs back when touched lightly at the center, and a wooden skewer inserted in the cent comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife, and turn it out onto a wire rack or a plate to cool completely, top side up.
GLAZE INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
GLAZE DIRECTIONS: Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and blends with the brown sugar to make a smooth sauce, 2 to 3 minutes, Add the milk, and let the icing come to a gentle boil. Stir well, remove from the heat, and add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Beat well with a mixer, whisk, or spoon for 1 or 2 minutes, until the glaze thickens and loses a little of its shine. Use at once. If the glaze hardens, stir in 1 or 2 spoonfuls of evaporated milk to soften it.