There’s something about spice that is so wintery and festive. This recipe caught my eye because it uses a large quantity of black treacle but no sugar or eggs. Black treacle is an appealing ingredient instantly reminiscent of traditional Christmas cakes and puddings.
I consider this a “Christmas come-down” cake – by which I mean it’s that time of year when you know that the festive feasts have finished and you shouldn’t really still be polishing off as many Quality Street as you are on an hourly basis, but you do actually rather fancy a bit of cake. This one hits the spot with its strong flavours and easy to eat, no-fuss simplicity!
This cake gave me the chance to test out my fab new nutmeg grater, a Christmas present from the CCM and CCD (Caked Crusader’s Ma and Da):
It’s a one handed device similar in look to those hand-strength building devices – it seems to get mixed reviews but I love it. The nutmeg sits in the middle and a simple squeeze of the handles deposits a nice amount of nutmeg in your batter!
Weighing treacle is so much easier when you weigh it straight into the pan or bowl – here’s my in-no-way-precarious set up:
The cake is topped with a simple white glace icing. I chose not to flavour this as there was a lot of spice in the cake and I didn’t want it to compete. I made a largish amount of icing for the size of the cake – this was at the behest of the CCM who is partial to a thick layer of icing!
Happy New Year to all my readers; may all your cakes turn out splendidly, and may your biscuit tin never be empty!
For the cake:
130g unsalted butter
330g black treacle
375g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
300ml boiling water
For the icing:
225g icing sugar
2 tablespoons warm water, to start – you may need more
Decoration: anything you choose! Silver or gold balls would be nice, but I had some wafer snowflakes left from Christmas so used those.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°C/Gas mark 4.
Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.
Place the butter and treacle in a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted and combined with the treacle. Stir occasionally. I find that weighing the treacle directly into the saucepan makes life a lot easier i.e. replace your scales’ dish with the saucepan for weighing it out.
Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour in the butter and treacle and the boiling water and mix until you have a smooth batter. Take care at this point as the batter will be piping hot – don’t use a plastic spatula unless you’re sure it’s heatproof (trust me – this was an awful lesson to learn, not on this cake but an earlier one!)
Pour the batter (it will be gloopy) into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake, still in its tin, on a wire rack and leave to cool – the cake will be delicate until cool so I let it cool completely in the tin before turning out.
Don’t panic when your cake sinks a little – it will not stay as high as it does when first out the oven. It won’t sink with a hole in the middle, but the whole top will settle. Very sticky treacle and spice cakes always seem to do this – it’s a sign of how delicious it will be to eat!
On the day of serving, place the cake on its serving plate.
Now make the icing: place the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually beat in water. You can always add more water if needed so be sparing!
When you have a thick, opaque but still pourable consistency it is ready to be poured over the cake.
Ensure that the whole top of the cake is covered and let the icing drizzle down the sides.
Decorate as required.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.