If I could, I would box each and every one of you a loaf of this brown sugar pound cake. I’d fashion it with parchment paper and a curl of ribbon, along with a handwritten note of sorts. We’d nibble on a slice over a cup of coffee, and it’d be in that space that we’d share stories, the joys and the horrors, of our week. This brown sugar pound cake is the kind of treat that’s meant for gifting and inspires sharing, like a buttery little love note to send to the people who count.
I’ve recently spent a fair amount of time thinking about why I love this craft so much. In a matter of years, baking and cooking has melted into the nooks and crannies of my life, pouring edges to the mold of who I am, of who I want to be. It’s less of a hobby or a means of nourishment, but instead, a process that nourishes me in intangible ways and quenches my thirst to create and to share. Baking is the trade that allows me to love the people around me- a box of cookies for a friend, a birthday cake for my child, a spoon of chocolate for my husband. The time spent by the stove and around the table is an act of service, a show of affection, and anyone willing can choose to partake.
To be fair, baking may not be your thing. You may be a painter or a scientist. You may be the kind that builds kites or plants gardens or strums melodies on vintage guitars. Words or numbers or colors may mean more to you than flour and sugar, but whatever your gifting is, I really think you should use it. Let me be the one, maybe even the first, to encourage you to share freely and abundantly the things that give you joy. And if you haven’t found your “thing” yet, I can assure you that there is room in the kitchen. There is space to create, to fail, and to try again, to love others through the making and breaking of bread. If you’re willing to sift and stir and knead for the benefit of others, I can promise you that baking is an art you can do. Let this recipe for brown sugar pound cake be the one you tiptoe into the shallows with.
This brown sugar pound cake is dense and moist, filled with ribbons of cooked berries and sprinkled with a buttery crumb topping. The recipe yields two loaves of cake, perfect for sharing with a neighbor or teacher or friend. The process of preparing this brown sugar pound cake is straight forward but includes a few different steps, so let’s talk about the how.
To prepare the cake, we start by making a blueberry filling. We could just toss in a handful of berries and call it a day, but by pre-cooking the berries into a thick syrup, we are able to swirl the filling into the loaves for a sliver of tang in each slice. Simply toss mashed berries with some sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch, and cook on the stovetop until thick and bubbly.
While the filling cools in the fridge, we start on the topping. This is a brown butter crumb topping, similar to what we tossed on our raspberry rhubarb crumb cake. Brown butter, with the addition of sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon, makes for a flavorful topping, a warm and salty welcome to an otherwise sweet cake. Check out my tutorial on browning butter for some help on that topic.
The topping and filling for this brown sugar pound cake can be made a day or two in advance or just before whipping up the pound cake. On the day of baking, prepare your cake batter. We start by creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk with the usual suspect dry ingredients. The batter is divided between two loaf pans and is swirled with the cooled berry filling. Top each cake with a generous amount of crumble, and feel free to save a handful for nibbling while the cakes bake! You’ll know the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back slightly at the touch.
Allow the cakes to cool completely before packaging for sharing. I have a few ideas for packing loaves here that you can check out, if you please. I also love buying pretty disposable pans so that you can gift the loaves right in their baking container. Whatever you choose, just be sure to save a slice for gifting to someone else. Let others have a taste of the stuff that you’re made of. Happy Sunday and have a great week!
If you like this brown sugar pound cake with blueberries and brown butter crumble, be sure to check out:
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Blueberries and Brown Butter Crumble
This recipe for brown sugar pound cake with blueberries and brown butter crumb topping makes two loaf cakes, dense, moist, and incredibly flavorful, the perfect treat for sharing.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 2
For the filling:
- 1-1/2 cups (220 gm) blueberries, mashed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the crumble:
- 6 tablespoonson (200 gm) unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup (130 gm) all-purpose flour
For the cake:
- 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 gm) packed brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups (200 gm) all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup (180 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
To prepare the filling:
- Combine all the ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Stir, mashing more if desired, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Once the mixture has thickened slightly, remove from heat to a separate container and place in the fridge to cool while you prepare the rest of the cake elements. This can be made ahead, covered, and stored in the fridge for up to one week.
To prepare the crumble:
- Add the diced butter to a small saucepan or skillet set over medium heat. Stir with a whisk or swirl the pan occasionally to ensure the butter is melting evenly. Once melted, the butter will sizzle, foam, and eventually start forming little golden bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring regularly until the butter has taken on an amber color and nutty aroma. Take care not to burn the butter. Remove the pan from heat and pour the brown butter into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the butter. Fold in the flour until the mixture has crumbled. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the cake. Alternatively, this can be made and stored in an air-tight container up to one week in advance.
To prepare the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two (8-1/2” x 4-1/2” x 2-3/4”) loaf pans with cooking spray. You can also line the pan with two strips of parchment paper for easy removal, if desired.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the room temperature butter on medium speed with a paddle attachment until the butter is lightened in color and smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sugars. Cream for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add each egg, one at a time, stirring well on medium speed after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, stirring to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and stir on low just until combined. Add the buttermilk and stir on low to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir on low, folding with a spatula to finish combining.
- Scoop one cup of batter into the bottom of each prepared pan and spread it out. Drizzle two tablespoons of the blueberry filling evenly over top of each battered pan. Repeat this process with the layering of batter and filling once more and then divide the remaining cake batter among the two pans. You will not use all the blueberry filling. Drag a butter knife through the pans, back and forth several times, to swirl in the blueberry filling. Top each pan with 1/2 of the crumble.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool briefly before eating, or cool completely to remove the entire cake from the pan.
- If your blueberries are not sweet and ripe, you can add an additional tablespoon of sugar to sweeten them lightly. You want the filling to be fresh and not overly sweet.
- You will not use all the filling for these cakes. You can save the leftovers and freeze for future cakes, or you can use it as a topping for ice cream or pancakes!
- If you don’t care about having a blueberry swirl, feel free to fold in 1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter before baking. Just forget the filling and fold in berries! Easy!
- If you need help browning butter for your crumble, check out the link in my above post or search “brown butter” on my blog homepage. There is a tutorial!
- If you add more than the specified amount of blueberry filling, your cake can become gummy and dense. It still tastes delicious, but it won’t look as advertised in the photos.