Dark molasses gingerbread cake

Dark molasses gingerbread cake

The Hang Fire Cookbook

This rich, impressive cake was served up to us when we went to a friend’s house for dinner in Tennessee. Its pitch black, moist sponge perfectly complements the white, cream cheese frosting.


Quantity Ingredient
200g unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing
350g blackstrap molasses
150g soft light brown sugar
75g white sugar
220g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons espresso coffee powder, (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
375ml full-fat milk

For the cream cheese icing

Quantity Ingredient
200g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
50g plain flour
225g white sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
225ml full-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, or set up your grill for indirect heat (no wood necessary). Lightly butter two 22cm springform cake tins and line them with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. As the butter melts, whisk in the molasses and sugars. When the butter is liquid and the sugar crystals have dissolved, give it a final stir, then set aside to cool. (The molasses will slightly separate from the melted butter – this is fine.)
  3. In a large bowl, use a clean dry whisk to combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and espresso powder if using. Whisk the vanilla, eggs and milk into the pan with the molasses and melted butter, until completely combined. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk thoroughly to combine, making sure there are no lumps.
  4. Divide the thick batter between the prepared tins and bake (or grill) for 45–50 minutes, or until a cocktail stick poked into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let the sponges cool for 20–30 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. To make the icing, whip the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use an electric whisk) on high speed for 6–8 minutes, until completely smooth and silky.
  6. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until it begins to the boil. It will look lumpy at first but whisk vigorously to create a smooth paste. Simmer for 1 minute – the mixture will thicken rapidly – then scrape the flour and milk paste into a bowl. Beat using your electric whisk or in a stand mixer for 8–10 minutes, until it becomes light and cooled. Slowly add the whipped cream cheese and vanilla extract, beating continuously until well combined, smooth and silky. It is best to let this icing firm up a bit more in the refrigerator but you can use it now to ice a completely cooled cake.
  7. Spread half of the icing on one side of your cooled sponge and top with the other sponge to make a sandwich. Put the rest of the icing in a piping bag and pipe onto the cake in an appealing pattern. You’re now ready to slice and serve.
Deep South
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