Molasses Sponge Cake

Molasses Sponge Cake, soaked with melted molasses or treacle and rich, dark rum, can be eaten as a dessert with whipped cream, or served cold, cut into slices, as a cake.

1 teaspoon butter

6 oz. plus

1 tablespoon flour

6 eggs, separated

4 oz. castor sugar

6 fl. oz. molasses or black treacle

2 to

3 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dark rum

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). With the butter, grease a 9-inch round cake tin. Sprinkle in the tablespoon of flour and tip and rotate the tin to coat the sides and bottom evenly. Knock out any excess flour and set aside.

In a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar with a wire whisk or rotary beater. Place the bowl over a large saucepan half filled with barely simmering water. Set the pan over low heat and cook the mixture, beating constantly, until it is thick enough to hold a ribbon trail on itself when the whisk is lifted.

Remove the pan from the heat. Lift the bowl out of the pan. Gradually beat in half of the molasses or treacle, beating until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Sift in the remaining flour and beat it in with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.

Beat in 2 tablespoons of the milk, adding a little more if necessary to obtain a dropping consistency.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form soft peaks. Add the salt and beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks. With a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the flour and mol-asses or treacle mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing it down with a flat-bladed knife.

Place the tin in the centre of the oven and- bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, com-bine the remaining molasses or treacle and the rum. Set the pan over moderate heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the mixture hot.

Remove the cake from the oven. Set the cake aside to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Turn the cake out on to a wire rack and, with a skewer, make holes in the cake 1-inch apart and to within 1-inch of the base.

Pour the hot treacle or molasses mix-ture into the holes in the cake, reserving

2 tablespoons. With a flat-bladed knife, spread the

2 tablespoons of molasses or treacle over the top of the cake. Place the cake on a serving plate and serve immed-iately, or cool and serve.

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