Brown Sugar Lightning Cake

(recipe, Sally Schneider)

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  1. ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  2. 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  3. 2 tsp. baking powder
  4. ¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  6. 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  7. ½ cup buttermilk or ¼ cup whole milk mixed with ¼ cup plain yogurt (see Note)
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  9. 1 tsp. bourbon
  10. Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the inside of a 9-inch straight-sided round cake pan with a little of the melted butter. Spoon a teaspoon or two of the flour into the pan and tilt the pan until it is completely coated. Invert and tap to release the excess flour.
  2. Place a sifter or a strainer over a bowl and sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir again with a fork and set aside.
  3. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk until blended and frothy. Whisk in the sugar and beat until well blended, 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in the flour mixture, using as few strokes as possible, until mostly incorporated. Then whisk in the milk, the remaining melted butter, and the flavorings. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake the cake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto the rack. Cool completely.
  6. Invert the cake onto a platter. Sift some confectioners' sugar over the top.


Culinate editor's notes: You can use cream in place of the milk/yogurt mixture. Check the baking cake at 30 minutes; it may be done before 35 minutes are up.