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Today's Case

Frederick & Nelson Burnt Sugar Cake

Subject: Frederick & Nelson burnt sugar cake
From: Elspeth
Date: 7/16/2021, 4:05 PM

On 7/16/2021 1:59 PM, Elspeth wrote:

Dear Phaedrus,

I have a similar request to that made by “Linda” in a letter dated December 27, 2020. 
I am searching for a burnt sugar cake that my mother would buy from the Frederick & 
Nelson in Seattle. It was a rather expensive cake so sometimes she was only able to 
buy 1/2 of one from their bakery. The cake was layered and the frosting was a light 
caramel color. It had a stain of drizzled burnt sugar dripping around the top and 
down the sides. What an amazing cake! I was born in 1961 and I still remember its 
taste and the slightly grainy texture. There are other burnt sugar cakes online but 
I was wondering if the recipe for this one is in any F & N archive anywhere.
Going to Frederick & Nelson was a special event for my mother and siblings and was 
a destination that required us to wear our “Sunday best.” One seasonal item that F&N 
offered was an incredible chocolate Easter egg filled with delicious chocolate walnut 
fudge.  They were large and heavy and oh so rich.  It’s a bummer those aren’t still 

Thank you for your help with the cake. The research I have done hasn’t uncovered the 
recipe or any mention of the cake but it has led me to fascinating articles, the 
history of the store and provided a wonderful nostalgic trip down memory lane.   

Best regards,


  Hi Elspeth,

 Sorry, I had no success with this. As far as I know, there is no Frederick & Nelson recipe archive in existence, nor is there a cookbook of their recipes.

 I will post your request for reader input.


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