Monday, March 10, 2008

A Big Bag of Brown Sugar


I've been a member of Costco for a long time now. For those unfamiliar, Costco is a membership warehouse club chain. When I joined in 1990, the company was in the pre-merger days and called Price Club. Although I was not a small business owner, Costco still appealed to me. My college roommates and I would drive from Davis to Sacramento to do some bulk shopping. We could buy toilet paper, giant food service sized cans of fruit cocktail, half gallon tubs of peanut butter and cleaning supplies. I also remember trying to cram a desk we bought into the backseat of an early 80's Toyota and accidentally tearing the cloth covering the back of the passenger side seat. Ooops! Even now, I feel bad about tearing my roommate's seat.

My parents, small business owners until they retired a few years ago, have been Costco members for far longer than I have been. Recently, on their usual monthly shopping trip to Costco, they returned with a 25 pound bag of C&H brown sugar. Our Costco doesn't always have brown sugar and, every once in a while, would have a "manageable" 10 pound bag in stock, but not on this trip. Certain items seem to come and go at Costco. So if you see something you like, buy it, because it might not be there on your next visit.

My mom knows how much I like to bake, so she gave me more than half of their 25 pounds. Since I try to keep my baking pantry pretty well stocked I already had about 6 pounds of brown sugar in my kitchen. Now, with almost 20 pounds of brown sugar to work my way through, I was searching for all kinds of recipes to use up the brown sugar. You would think that brown sugar could be used in place of white granulated sugar in baking recipes. This may be true in many cases, but there are certain situations where the substitution would not work. Brown sugar is more acidic than white sugar so the acid level could be slightly thrown off balance which could possibly affect the finished product. Sometimes I adjust my leavening agents to compensate.

But there was no need to do that since this recipe is written for brown sugar. I found this brown sugar chocolate chip pound cake recipe in the October 2007 issue of Bon Appétit magazine. The brown sugar and maple are well matched flavors and the buttermilk keeps the cake super moist and cuts the sweetness with its tang. My favorite part is the maple espresso glaze drizzled on top. Yummy! My coworkers agreed that this cake is worth making again and again.

By the way, does anyone remember the C&H Sugar Company jingle "C&H, pure cane sugar, from Hawaii, _____ in the sun"? I cannot remember what word comes before "in the sun". So now the jingle is stuck in my head and it's driving me crazy! My internet search has come up with same 3 or 4 words to fill in the blank, but I haven't found a definitive answer. If anyone can help me regain my sanity, I would be eternally grateful.


Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
with Maple-Espresso Glaze

(from Bon Appétit, October 2007)
(makes 12 servings)

12 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (or 12 ounces chocolate chip morsels)
3 cups all purpose flour (plus an additional amount for dusting pan)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract (I didn't have any so I used 4 tbsp pure maple syrup)
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp (or more) heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 325F. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan then dust pan lightly with flour.

Place your chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in medium bowl. From your 3 cups all purpose flour, measure about 2 tablespoons flour and toss those 2 tablespoons in with your chocolate. (Tossing your chopped chocolate with a tiny bit of flour helps keep them evenly suspended in the batter.)

Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract and maple extract (or maple syrup). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Detach the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a spoon or spatula, fold in the chopped chocolate. Spread your batter evenly in your prepared pan.

Bake at 325F until cake tester comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan over a cooling rack for about 30 minutes. Then invert cake onto cooling rack and let it cool completely before glazing.


To make the glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder until smooth. If the glaze seems too thick to drizzle, add cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until the desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Allow the glaze to firm up before serving, about 60 minutes.

I've also used this alternative recipe for the glaze when I didn't have any heavy cream.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 to 2 tbsp strong coffee or espresso
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That cake looks great and it must taste really good!



t said...

Hah! I get to exercise my inborn nerd gene!! We lived across the water from the C&H factory in Crockett, and every time I drove over the Benicia/Martinez bridge, I had to sing...

C&H, Pure Cane Sugar
From Hawaii, sweetened by the sun...

This reflects a sad childhood spent with far too much TV, doesn't it?

Your brown sugar cake looks fantastic. YUM.

linda said...

Wow, and I thought I had my pantry stocked. more than 18 pounds of sugar!!!
Brown sugar is great to use when making meringue. I use dark brown sugar in my Swiss meringue, it gives it a caramelly flavour.
I wouldn't mind a slice of that cake, the glaze in particular is very appealing!

Andrea said...

I used to hear the jingle on tv as a kid, and I remember it like this:

C&H, Pure Cane Sugar
From Hawaii, growing in the sun
Island sugar, growing pure, fresh and clean
C&H, Pure Cane Sugar
Is the one.

Your cake looks very tasty!

mini_sid said...

C and H
Pure cane sugar
From Hawaii
Growin' in the sun!
When you cook, when you bake, for goodness sake
Get C and H pure cane sugar
C and H pure cane sugar
C and H pure cane sugar, that's the one!

Got this from "answers" on Yahoo

Aran said...

the cake looks wonderful and i loved the background story about costco. im there with ya!

Gretchen Noelle said...

This looks delicious! All you wrote so makes me miss Costco! And I remember when it was Price Club. And I shopped at the Sacramento store. And I always bought things with my college roommates there, outrageous bags of things that I had no idea how we'd finish them. What a delight to read! And the cake, I love it! It just may be worth using my precious brought-from-the-states brown sugar!

Oh, and it was definitely "sweetened by the sun!"

Cheryl said...

That cake looks so good. Makes me wanna run out and buy a 25 lb bag of brown sugar too.

I don't see to many Costco's around here. We mostly have Sam's Clubs and BJ's. I really should hit these stores more often.

Sylvie said...

That cake looks so yummy. You can tell from your great pictures that it's deliciously moist.

kimberleyblue said...

YUM! That cake looks fantastic - it's in my bookmarks now. :)

Dana said...

20lbs of brown sugar?!? Holy moly! I've had my eye on this recipe since I saw it in BA. Sounds like a great way to use up some of that sugar!!

RecipeGirl said...

Looks like you'll be baking a lot w/ that stock o' brown sugar you have. Sounds like a good recipe! Love your leaning tower of cake :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I've had an eye on this cake since I got the magazine, Mary. It looks wonderful!
And that is a lot of brown sugar, I can only imagine the delicious things you'll be baking with it!

Deborah said...

This cake sounds wonderful! A great way to use up some of that brown sugar.

Meeta said...

WOW What a cake, what a glaze, and what a filling. I like this very much!

Susan said...

Oh my! Thanks for this recipe. I'll have to try this the next time I have company.

Chris said...

This looks like I cake everyone would go ga ga over! Did anyone mention that the chips look like they're smiling? Hee hee!

I am a big Costco shopper for my baking. I have air tight containers that hold the big bags of "stuff" - sugar, flour, confectioners, etc. Crazy girl I am!

Veron said...

that is one lovely brown sugar cake! We do not have C&G on the east coast so I order their baker's sugar online.

Anonymous said...

The cake looks so good. I love bundt cakes especially for breakfast! :)

MamaB said...

Your cake looks delicious! I will have to try it. I spent many years in Davis for college and grad school, I loved living there.

Peligro said...

Hello, I came across your blog about a year ago. I am currently a 26 yr old male and yea I bake lol, even though general cooking is closer to my heart (wanting to go to culinary school and currently working as a assistance kitchen manager for a local resturant). Sometimes when my family holds get togethers or if the mood suits I usually fire some baked goods out. Sadly this has gained me a reputation and it is always expected now and I don't want to serve the same old thing again, try to keep it fresh new and exciting. Your blog and the blogs of the daring bakers have been a god send. I take a few liberties with some of the recipies, like this cake I used butterscotch chips once with some dried apple pieces then drizzled with carmel for that candy apple taste. I just want to thank you though for the lovely work and let you know that more then your average baker reads and enjoys!

Madam Chow said...

Your post made me laugh - a couple years ago, I bought a 50 pound bag of sugar at Costco, and it turned into a hard rock. My husband thought I was crazy.

Brilynn said...

That looks awesome, wonderful photos!

M&Ms... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M&Ms... said...

25 pounds of sugar. Costco sure does not joke around :)
Had no idea about the acidic differences between white and brown..guess I have a lot to learn!
Recipe is delicious...looking at those photos is making my mouth water. Can't wait to find an excuse to try this recipe!

Annemarie said...

I can't actually imagine what a 25 lb bag of brown sugar looks like (or what sort of receptacle you'd need on hand to take half that sugar off someone's hands). The cake looks lov-er-ly.

VeggieGirl said...

wow, you really put all that brown sugar to good use with that bundt cake, for sure! it looks MARVELOUS! :0)

Tartelette said...

I love Costsco and they love me for the all the butter, sugar and flour I get there!! The cake sounds delicious and moist! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Maybe they had 2 different versions of the jingle...I grew up in OH and definitely remember that it was "growin' in the sun" (or could have been "grown in the sun"). Either way, that cake is making me drool!

Cakespy said...

Now that is just a beautiful cake!! Gorgeous work, and since I love brown sugar it sounds delicious as well! What could be better?

Sean said...

It's like my friend Pam says, "If you want to eat cheese, go to Safeway; if you want to build something out of cheese, go to Costco." I love that your slice of cake is smiling!

Anonymous said...

Someone recently did a blog post on the lyrics...a husband and wife I think. It turns out they were both right and the lyrics were different in the commercial they remembered...for us it was "sweetened".

That cake looks so good!

Anonymous said...

I was the jingle singer from SF that sang and played the ukelele on the C&H Sugar commercial
The lyrics included an echo or repeated answer:

"C&H, C&H
Pure Cane Sugar, Pure Cane Sugar
From Hawaii, from Hawaii,
growin' in the sun, growin' in the sun
Island sugar, growing pure, fresh and clean
C&H, Pure Cane Sugar
Is the one."

I also sang the McDonald's jingle back in 1975.


And a Laffin' Levis jingle to the tune of Mule Skinner blues. It was a stop action animated spot of a little boy, his dog, a fire hydrant, a rock hanging in mid air, and an old lady.
It also ran on tv for over 10 years.
"Good mornin' world, well, good mornin' to you, Well I'm wearin my Levis, Lee hee, lee hee hee vis."
Lee hee hee hee vis, HA HA... etc
(you can find a video copy on the internet of this)
I have sung on hundreds (if not thousands) of jingles and demos in my 40 year commercial career)