Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Rich & moist with a deep, sweet buttery flavor, this Brown Sugar Pound Cake with butterscotch glaze is fancy enough for guests but easy enough for every day.

My family loves when I’m testing dessert recipes. I create a lot of cakes, but there is one cake that makes the kids’ jaws drop with excitement every time. Pound Cake. It’s especially Braden’s favorite, so the week before he left for his freshman year of college was the perfect time to test a new pound cake recipe.

I found this Brown Sugar Pound Cake recipe in an old church cookbook of my grandma’s and have made it several times over my 23 years of marriage. Sometimes I leave it plain or dust it with powdered sugar, but this time I drizzled a warm homemade butterscotch icing over the top. It’s decadent and rich…and perfect for your next family dinner or celebration.

a slice of pound cake on a spatula

A special thank you to Challenge Butter for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Why you’ll love this cake:

  • A butter-based pound cake that is dense and velvety.
  • Deep brown sugar butter flavor with hints of maple.
  • Mixes up quickly and bakes in a traditional 12 cup bundt cake pan.
  • 4 ingredient butterscotch sauce that cooks in about 5 minutes.
  • Perfect as a make ahead cake. It freezes well too.
overhead view of a glazed bundt cake

What makes this cake moist?

Pound cakes are known as being very dense, but are also moist. Here are the ingredients that keep this cake perfectly moist:

  • Challenge Butter: You’ll need 3 sticks (1 ½ cups or 12 ounces) of Challenge unsalted butter for the cake batter. Challenge Butter is churned fresh daily and made with the freshest milk and cream. Plus, there are no additives, hormones or fillers, so you can be confident in baking with Challenge Butter. (And this butter is great for savory too. Try our pizza sliders.)
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar contains molasses so it retains more moisture than white sugar. This helps baked goods with brown sugar be more moist, but also a little more dense than those with white sugar.
  • Eggs: You’ll need 5 large eggs for this recipe. Yes, that’s a lot, but it will help give your cake that texture you love and the egg yolks add fat to keep the cake moist.
  • Sour Cream: You can make this cake with 1 cup of milk and no sour cream, but I wanted the fat in the sour cream to help the cake stay tender and rich. For that reason, I used ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup 2% milk.

Baking Tips for Brown Sugar Pound Cake:

  • I tested this cake in both a dark nonstick bundt pan and a light nonstick bundt pan. The light pan definitely worked better. The dark colored pan made the outside of the get darker faster. Nonstick pans work best for this recipe because of the high sugar content. Darker pans can often take less time to bake as well.
  • Even if you use a nonstick pan, grease the pan with shortening, then dust it with flour. You can also use Baker’s Joy cake release spray. Don’t use butter or regular cooking spray to grease the pan. Your cake will mostly likely stick if you do this.
  • Follow the instructions carefully for mixing the cake. Pay attention to room temperature ingredients and ingredient weights…and how you mix the cake. This will all help your cake to turn out with the best texture.
  • I used both maple and vanilla flavoring for the cake. The maple adds a depth of flavor that I loved. You can use all vanilla if you don’t have maple.
  • The cake can take up to 80 minutes to bake depending on the type of pan you have. Check the cake at 40 minutes. If it looks like it is getting too dark on top, place a piece of foil over the top of the cake to prevent it from getting too brown. If you have an internal probe thermometer, the cake should test about 210º Fahrenheit when done.
  • Turn out the cake about 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven. If you leave the cake too long it may stick.

Butterscotch Glaze

This frosting reminded me of a praline type frosting. It is amazing! It’s easy to make but it hardens quickly after cooking so you’ll have to be ready to drizzle it on the cake immediately when it comes off the stove. I don’t make the frosting until the cake has cooled for at least 25 minutes or so.

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a boil, again stirring constantly.
  • As soon as the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat.
  • Immediately drizzle the butterscotch glaze over the cake.

Storage Instructions

Store this cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. After that, you can freeze any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

closeup of a piece of cake with a bite out

This cake is delicious served with whipped cream or icing and extra butterscotch or caramel sauce.

closeup of a piece of cake on a plate
closeup of a piece of cake on a plate

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

4.45 from 25 votes
Rich & moist with a deep, sweet buttery flavor, this Brown Sugar Pound Cake with butterscotch glaze is fancy enough for guests but easy enough for every day.
Servings 12
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the cake:

  • 1 ½ cups Challenge Butter unsalted butter room temperature (12 ounces)
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar 440 grams
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 390 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup sour cream 125 grams
  • ½ cup 2% milk

For the butterscotch glaze:

  • ¼ cup Challenge Butter unsalted butter room temperature (2 ounces)
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar 110 grams
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions
 

Make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit. Grease a 12 cup bundt cake pan with shortening, then dust with flour. You can also use Baker’s Joy cake release spray or a homemade cake release.
  • In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add in the maple and vanilla. Mix again.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
  • Add half of the flour, then all of the salt and baking powder. Mix until nearly combined.
  • Add the sour cream and mix again.
  • Then add the remaining flour and mix.
  • Lastly, add the milk and mix just until the milk is all mixed in the the batter is uniform, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the top with a spatula so that it is even in the pan. Tap the pan a couple of times on the counter to settle the batter.
  • Bake for 70-80 minutes or until the cake tests done. Check the cake at 40 minutes. If it looks like it is getting too dark on top, place a piece of foil over the top of the cake to prevent it from getting too brown. If you have an internal probe thermometer, the cake should test about 210º Fahrenheit.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for just 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the butterscotch glaze:

  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. You’ll want to pour the glaze right after you make it, so if you want the cake totally cooled off, let it mostly cool before starting the glaze.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a boil, again stirring constantly.
  • As soon as the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat.
  • Mix in the powdered sugar until the glaze is smooth.
  • Immediately drizzle the butterscotch glaze over the cake.
  • Then immediately sprinkle or press pecan bits on top of the glaze. It sets quickly, so you may have to press them in to get them to stick.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Video

Notes

If your pan is dark colored, it may take a little less time to bake. I used a light colored, non-stick bundt cake pan.
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 12 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of frosted cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 710kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 69g | Vitamin A: 1049IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 710
Keyword easy bundt cake, homemade cake, old fashioned dessert

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Lisa
1 year ago

Can this cake be made with gluten free flour

Christine
1 year ago

5 stars
THANK YOU! Lizzy, Julie & Kinsley for this yummy bread that just came out of the oven. My husband waited a hour hovering over it, to attack it and ate half of it!

Paulette
1 year ago

5 stars
Anything with browned butter and I’m all over it! Very Pennsylvania Dutch!

Dan rogaczewski
1 year ago

Just made made this cake. I used all vanilla instead of vanilla and maple. The crumb was good but it is on the bland side. I don’t really get any note of the brown sugar. I did use all sour cream instead half sour cream and half milk, but that just makes it more of a sour cream pound cake. It rose nicely. Came out of the bundt pan without a problem (yea Baker’s Joy!!). Slices nicely, but I don’t really get the complex flavor I was expecting, sort of like the flavor of a Toll house cookie. I do… Read more »