Sunday, December 02, 2012

Molasses Cake With Cooked Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

I read about this cake molasses cake on Agne's blog, Off The Spork. I've never eaten a molasses cake before so was really intrigued. It seems like one of those "olden days" ingredients used in eras past, at least from my knowledge of eras past through American movies haha. I don't claim to be a food historian. Anyway, Agnes raved about this cake and said I had to give it a try. I was hesitant as she described the cake as having liquorice tones, and I hate liquorice. But she said the liquorice flavours really worked so off I went to bake it.

I baked the cake, and used a smaller tin than prescribed as Agnes suggested and the cake came out nice and tall. I found the molasses in the health section of my supermarket. The molasses on it's own smells and taste really strong and not that nice. But once in the cake, it gives it this burnt liquoricey flavour that is awesome. This cake is huge and uses about 3/4 of the jar of molasses. It's a bit annoying as I don't know what to do with the remaining molasses. Maybe I can just add less of it in the next cake.

Along with the molasses, this cake also uses a cooked cream cheese frosting. I've never made that either and again wasn't sure how it would turn out. I thought it would be a bit like a white frosting where you make a flour paste, and I don't really like white frostings. However, this frosting turned out amazing. It's basically like a traditional cream cheese frosting but super duper smooth and creamy. I've usually made this version of a cream cheese frosting for all my cakes now. It is far more effort than the usual cream cheese frosting but the smooth texture is worth it.

With this cake, I decided to try and decorate it a bit nicer than usual so opted to use some toasted almonds on the outside and some flowers to decorate it. The almonds work nicely with the cake actually so I'd recommend using it if you can be bothered.

As usual, I like to try and provide some tips on the bake itself
-As Agnes suggested, a small pan does produce a nice high cake that looks better. It did take a bit longer to bake so just watch the cake in the oven.

-The quantity of molasses seems excessive but trust the recipe. It does work and the sweetness is ok. It is verging on the sweeter side so just make your cream cheese frosting a little less sweet.

-The cake has a salty taste which I do love. If you don't like that saltiness, I guess you can omit the salt, but I wouldn't recommend it.

-For the cream cheese frosting, keep whisking the flour paste until it's very smooth and quite a thick paste. You really have to beat it until it's quite cool or the cream cheese will melt into a mess when you beat it in.

-Before you ice the cake, make sure the cake has totally cooled down or the frosting does slide. The cake is really big and retains a lot of heat in the middle so just feel it to be sure it's cool.

Molasses cake with cooked cream cheese frosting

Adapted and converted to metric from The Kitchn
Serves 10

170g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
340g (1&1/2 cups) unsulphured dark or unsulphured blackstrap molasses
150g brown sugar
75g caster sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee (optional)
410g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten
360ml full cream milk

Heat the oven to 175°C. Lightly grease a 23cm/9-inch springform cake pan (the original recipe stated a 25cm/10-inch pan, but I found it to be a bit flat. I’d recommend slightly smaller).

Place the butter, molasses, instant coffee (if using) and sugar into a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the salt.

Whisk the vanilla, eggs and milk into the molasses and butter mixture to completely combine. Pour this liquid slowly into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk to combine, making sure there are no lumps.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake at 175°C for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean (if using a smaller pan, your cake may take slightly larger).

Let it cool and then run a knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake edges. Remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely being icing.

Cooked cream cheese frosting

250g full fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature for at least 1 hour
15g plain flour
110g caster sugar
pinch of salt
125ml (1/2 cup) full cream milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the soft cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed for several minutes until smooth and silky. Scrape out into a separate bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Turn the heat on to medium and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until it comes together in a small paste.

Whisk continuously as it comes up to simmer. It will start to thicken – keep whisking and let it simmer for a minute to thicken and turn off the heat. Scrape the flour/milk paste into your mixer bowl and turn on the mixer to whisk it on low speed for about ten minutes, or until lukewarm or cooler.

Slowly add the cream cheese and vanilla, whipping constantly. Continue whipping until it is completely combined and smooth and silky. If necessary, put the icing in the fridge for a bit to firm up before icing the cake.

Spread over the cold cake, decorate with nuts if desired, and keep the iced cake in the fridge.


  1. This looks amazing! I adore molasses (though have sometimes found it intense from the spoonful; it depends on the brand), and would indeed like this with a cup of coffee.

  2. That looks great! I love the those flavours, I'm sure it would taste great all together. :) Your presentation is really nice too!

  3. Hmmm... I'm not sure what I thought of this cake other than, it doesn't taste like chocolate ;P

  4. YAY :) you made the molasses cake ~ I might bake it this weekend too because I picked up a jar of molasses last time I went to Adelaide and have been eying Agnes recipe :D Yours looks amazing! So smooth and pretty with the flowers!

  5. Best. Cake. Ever.

    Nice cake styling, Taz. :)

  6. Hannah, thanks. I'd never tried molasses. It's definitely got a strong flavour that works well in this cake.

    Sarah, it went really well and thank you.

    I-Hua, it's not for everyone with that salty hit.

    Daisy, definitely worth giving it a try.

    Agnes, thank you thank you. Trying to improve.