Butterscotch Spun Sugar Cake

Butterscotch Spun Sugar Cake

It’s funny how happy accidents happen sometimes. I’ve been struggling along with this blog the past few weeks, but not through laziness or not trying. (Ok, perhaps a little, it’s the dark nights I promise!) I’ve been busy trying new recipes, throwing myself into experiments and brainstorming like crazy. Unfortunately my little hands have been busy creating disasters. There was the cranberry doughnuts which were more like bread rolls. The croissant dough that took ALL weekend to make and then I burnt and under proved the finished article. I’ve tried a few new savoury dishes but nothing feels right for the blog. And old recipes I’ve never blogged just don’t seem to flow. Damn.

So tonight’s happy accident came about when I realised my eggs were going out of date. I grabbed the cookbooks, determined to produce a successful recipe at last. Happily I found a mish-mash of recipes, smash-banged them together and created a sugary sweet (yet grown-up) cake that has warming flavours of bonfire night – reminiscent of toffee apples, punchy caramel and sweet spices. What’s more, bake to finished cake took around 2 hours. Pretty speedy cake-making if you ask me.

Although my spun sugar is far from perfect, I managed to salvage the mess I made (sorry Fiona Cairns, but your instructions were TERRIBLE) and turned the sugary strands into shards. Making this again, I’d create a finer sugar bundle and top that way, but this cake is so versatile, a simple sprinkle of cinnamon, a pile of candied lemon slices or some caramelised apples would make this a perfect winter cake.


Adapted from The Birthday Cake Book by Fiona Cairns


You Will Need

175g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g caster sugar

75g soft light brown sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla paste

175g soft butter, cubed


For the Frosting

50g softened butter

200g cream cheese

1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg


For the Spun Sugar

110g caster sugar

100ml cold water

Butterscotch Spun Sugar Cake Ingriedients

Preheat the oven to 190oc/170oc fan/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins, line with baking parchment and set aside. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add all the other cake ingredients and beat together in a stand mixer or using a handheld mixer until combined. Split between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted inside comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Butterscotch Frosting

To make the frosting, make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature before whisking together to a smooth frosting. Add the sugar, golden syrup and spices, tasting as you go to make sure it is to your taste. The frosting may need a touch more sugar if you like it a little sweeter. Place one cake on a serving board or cake stand and spread with half the frosting, smoothing into a thick layer. Place the second cake on top and add the remaining frosting. Smooth with a palatte knife to the edges of the cake.

For the spun sugar shards, lay a sheet of baking parchment over a rolling pin and fill a large and small bowl with cold water. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and over a gentle heat, dissolve the sugar, stirring with a metal spoon. Once you can’t see any more sugar crystals, up the heat and bring to a rapid boil. Once the sugar begins to turn a caramel brown, scoop a little from the sides and drop into the small bowl – if it forms a ball and begins to crack, it is done. Carefully place the saucepan in the large bowl of water to rapidly cool, then dip a whisk in the caramel and begin to flick backwards and forwards across the rolling pin. Repeat until the caramel has been all used up, then carefully mould into a ball shape to set. Don’t worry if you can’t manage this or have left it too late – simple snap into shards. When ready to serve, arrange the spun sugar on top of the cake.

Butterscotch Spun Sugar Cake



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