Pound cakes are always a crowd-pleaser. They are known for their dense, tender texture and are a great option for just about any occasion. While vanilla is my go-to pound cake flavor, it isn’t the only choice out there. This Brown Sugar Bourbon Pound Cake is a delicious alternative to traditional vanilla – and it never lasts long in my kitchen after I’ve baked one. I have a feeling that it will be a hit in your home, too!
As the name suggests, this Brown Sugar Bourbon Pound Cake is made with quite a bit of brown sugar. You can use dark brown sugar for a stronger molasses flavor (and I do that sometimes in the winter), however I prefer the more subtle flavor of light brown sugar for a more versatile cake. The brown sugar is combined with butter, eggs and flour – ingredients that you’ll find in any cake, of course – along with a generous splash of bourbon. The flavor of the bourbon, with notes of vanilla and toasted wood, works very well with the brown sugar. There isn’t enough alcohol in this cake to give anyone a buzz, but you can substitute it for milk if you prefer to omit the alcohol entirely.
I usually reach for buttermilk in my pound cakes because it gives them a nice buttery flavor and contributes to a more tender texture, but in this case I used half whole milk and half heavy cream (aka half and half). Since I wanted the brown sugar to really stand out in this cake, I didn’t want to bring in additional flavors – like the tanginess of buttermilk – that might compete with it. The half and half gives the cake a nice richness and only brings in a mild flavor that works perfectly with the brown sugar and bourbon. You can also use all whole milk or all heavy cream (for an even richer cake), if you are in a pinch!
The cake is ready to eat as soon as it has cooled down, but I finished mine with a bourbon-infused glaze. The alcohol in the glaze will actually evaporate as it sits, leaving behind just the flavor of the bourbon, but it will feel potent as you first stir it up. The cake is also good with vanilla glaze or cream cheese frosting, if you want to change things up a bit.
Brown Sugar Bourbon Pound Cake
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in one third of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the heavy cream and bourbon. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cooled, top with bourbon glaze.