Cinnamon Pudding Cake

Yield:12 - 16 servings
Pudding cake is a kind of old-fashioned comfort dessert. A simple cake batter is whipped up and a topping mixture is poured on top of the batter. As the cake bakes, the topping sinks to the bottom of the pan and thickens. When the cake is inverted, the warm sauce oozes out over what becomes the top of the cake. This cinnamon version comes from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman. Like many of my favorite recipes, it can be whipped up last minute with common pantry ingredients. A rich brown sugar topping turns into a gooey, caramel sauce for the tender cinnamon-flavored cake. It's absolutely irresistible when warm. Since it's very sweet, it's a good idea to serve it with vanilla ice cream and perhaps to go for a walk afterwards!

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Make the topping by combining the brown sugar, water, 1 Tbsp. butter and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small pan. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool, but don't do this too far ahead as it needs to be slightly warm to pour well.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

4. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffly. This mixture will be sandy-looking as it's a lot of sugar and not much butter, but don't worry, it's fine.

5. With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour to the sugar mixture. Add 1/2 of the milk and the vanilla and mix. Add another 1/3 of the flour and mix. Add the remaining milk and then the remaining flour and mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed and beat on medium for 30 seconds.

6. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Slowly pour the topping over the batter. Bake until the cake is set, 45 to 50 minutes.

7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn it over onto a large platter and serve warm.