I used to hear the word "penuche" in the Fifties, and read about it in cookbooks and articles, but I never actually knew what it meant. There used to be such a thing as penuche fudge as well, and you still see it in candy stores. In fact, last spring at the Tucson Gem Show that happens every year in February, there were some candy concessions that featured just fudge. There were many flavors to choose from, and I finally found out what penuche is: fudge or candy that is prepared with brown sugar.
I hasten to add that, even though I reduce sugar when I bake, it isn't advisable to use sugar substitutes in candy making or in frostings, which is what I am giving you today. In fact, you can make the Butterscotch Cake with Splenda Bake or a stevia baking product. Just don't use anything but real golden-brown sugar for the Penuche Frosting.
BUTTERSCOTCH CAKE WITH PENUCHE FROSTING
For the cake:
1-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar or Splenda Brown
1 stick butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose or Spelt flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk at room temperature
For the frosting:
1 stick of butter, cubed and allowed to come to room temperature
2 cups packed golden-brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until you see no streaks. Finally, add the vanilla.
While the butter mixture is in process, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Lower the mixer speed to Low or Fold and beat in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Transfer the batter to a rectangular baking pan 9-by-13 inches and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake tests done.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan until it has cooled all the way through. Prepare the frosting:
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the brown sugar. While it is melting, stir in the milk and salt. Bring it to a boil and cook it, stirring, for 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla quickly. Cool it to room temperature and then beat in the confectioners' sugar gradually.
Turn the cooled cake out from the baking pan to a serving plate. Frost the cake and sprinkle the top with ground walnuts or pecans, or another decoration that you like.
Those of my readers who are old enough will remember this frosting mix as "Three-minute Frosting" but this particular recipe uses brown sugar, hence the name penuche. The brown sugar gives this cake a very deep, rich flavor and you will find that it is tastier than many other types of cake.
My father used to love this kind of frosting on a chocolate cake, for those of you who want to re-create something from the post-war period of the Forties and Fifties.