Sunday, 1 January 2012

Spiced treacle cake

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.



LandGirl1980 said...


I have had to put the left over chocs in the car. In the car park. In the next town *sigh*

Lucy said...

This cake looks so comforting for the dark days of January - love all the spices in it.

trash said...

mmmmmm... yummy looking cake indeed ans the best thing about this post is it has kickstarted me into thinking what to choose for a birthday cake at the ed of the month.

Lisa Shannon said...

Comfort food at it's best, I bet it would be lovely with custard. Happy New Year xx

freerangegirl said...

Pretty and delicious! I love the icing - lovely touch. Happy new year x

Caroline said...

That looks so delicious! I absolutely love sticky, treacly ginger cakes, so I may have to make this one very shortly. Yum, yum, yum!

Was it overpoweringly treacly though without any sugar to temper the treacle flavour? I sometimes find treacle a little too strong!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi C

I know what you mean but this was nicely balanced because of the spice. Black treacle can sometimes be so strong it's almost too much but this isn't the case here

Happy baking


Cakefairyblog said...

Yummy - love rich cakes like this. Super cute nutmeg grater - spent the other day digging at a nutmeg with a sharp knife because I couldn't find my grater! Happy new year x

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That looks gorgeous CC. So rich and spicy. I bet it tastes good with the icing, but the photo I love best is the one where it is naked in all it's glory :)

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Oh and I love your way off weighing the treacle :)

Cakelaw said...

I love the look of this cake - there's nothing like a sturdy spice cake with frosting. Happy New Year!

MissCakeBaker said...

Looks great. The nutmeg gadget looks v useful. I've just hidden some lindor under the sofa. Out of sight....

Lottie @ Lottiesworldofcakes said...

This looks truly delicious! And I love the look of that nutmeg grater!

Vix Johnston said...

Mmmm... very interesting, but as I've been rather naughty over the festive season I may have to wait for this one... or watch it dissapear from the box without managing a share myself!

Incidentally... I assume your gadget goes right to the end of the nutmeg so there's no little oddly-shaped bits left that are too fingernail-damaging to grate... I hate to waste even the smallest 'meg... any ideas about what to doo with the odds?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Vix

The nutmeg is held in place with a big screw lid so you can keep it clamped down and tighten the screw as needed.

Re the leftover bit of nutmeg - how about placing them in a jar of sugar, shaking it occasionally - voila, nutmeg infused sugar for sprinkling on cakes or using in coffee?

Happy baking

Jo said...

Haha I also weigh out treacle like that, so much easier. Also, I have a feeling we own the same saucepan! What kind of texture did the cake have without sugar or eggs? Did it rise much? Happy new year by the way!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Jo

The cake rose amazingly well - probably because of the baking powder and bicarb.

It wasn't heavy in texture but was close crumbed and satisfyingly filling!

Happy new year


Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Happy New Year CC! Yep, I'm trying to put off stopping the whole eating-chocolate-for-breakfast thing that has been the pattern for the entire festive period... But this cake sure would provide a very delicious alternative!

Victory Rolls & Mixing Bowls said...

perfect post-christmas treat! Love love, happy new year!

Nom! x

Mrs Mulford said...

Happy New Year! Looks lovely , bet it smelt great cooking too.I was interested in this due to a rather unhappy experience with a Mrs Beetons version, too much clove...This may be a silly question but does it keep?

Baking Addict said...

Happy New Year! I am intrigued by a cake with no eggs or sugar! I also have a lot of treacle leftover from another recipe so will bookmark this one. Love your weighing scale! Wishing you a fab 2012, may it be everything you wish for and more :)

Judy said...

This cake looks amazing. Love the spices, and that icing is mouthwatering.

Lisa Marie said...

Ohhhh. That cake is a hug on a plate!! Gorgeous. I need this cake.

Madam CC, you have done it again. Do a hair toss. You've earned it.

Katie said...

Looks gorgeous and wonderfully sticky. I can almost taste its dark spiciness. Bet it would be wonderful warmed and served with custard :)
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Haha I know exactly what you mean about still fancying a slice of cake! I'm currently trying to wean myself off the post dinner chocolate box :-) This cake looks gorgeous - can't wait to try.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Pauline

This recipe used cloves but I left them out as they over power everything. I chose to add a dash of allspice instead for that peppery (but not medicinal) kick.

Proving how much food I overbought this Christmas, yes, there is still some left 4 days after baking and it's still fine!

Happy baking

Soo said...

Yummmmmmmm. Looks like my kind of cake!

Mrs Mulford said...

Thanks :-)

Annabella said...

My aunt made this for us when we visited her last week and it was so delicious!! Just checking the recipe so that I can make one this afternoon. So different and delicious.

Alison's Bakery said...

Just made this cake this afternoon, smells absolutely divine and loving the dark black colour ;-) Mine doesn't appear to have risen as much as yours though and I did it in the same size tin, may have to go down to a 7" to make it a bit deeper. Really want to leave it for a few days for the flavours to develop, but doubt that will happen in this house cos we all love spiced infused cake! Happy New Year by the way, and looking forward to lots more of your fab recipes!

Unknown said...

Just made this for my neighbour, who was craving a cake with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger . . . "and it has to be brown!" It was a big hit! Measuring the molasses/treacle in the pan is such a simple and elegant idea and something I plan to use whenever I can.