Molasses, anyone?

I never thought of myself as a sweet-tooth before, but January consisted of all things cake. After tossing up between a few recipes for days undecided, I took the plunge and made both. One for me. One for my sister. Of course having made neither cake before it was fate that one of them would be a little “different”, and of course it was that cake which, in all it’s glorious golden brown beauty, I left at my little sister’s place, before taste testing. Just my luck!

So to begin, both cake recipes were from 101cookbooks.com, an amazing website I check regularly for inspiration:

Maple Huckleberry Coffee Cake & Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake

It was the Old-Fashioned Blueberry cake that let me down. Not the recipe’s fault, by my lack of understanding of the key ingredient – MOLASSES.

Doesn’t it sound good:  blueberry’s and molasses?

So when I stumbled across a jar of  “Molasses” quite by chance I knew what I had to make. My initial warning should have been when I popped the jar open for my first taste the of the black syrup. Being Australian bred I had never tasted the stuff, only ever read about it in childhood books, and assumed it was rather like treacle or golden syrup. It was sweet but the predominant flavour was salty aniseed, reminding me very much of salty Dutch liquorice.  The recipe also called for a further 2/3rds of a teaspoon of salt, and it went also.

The batter became a lovely warm brown, the sweet blueberries gave it a splash of colour, and then into the pan ready to go. The batter in the bowl was strong, but I assumed cooking would balance it out letting the sweetness of the berries kick in.

It came out of the oven so pretty, oozing soft blueberry juice. As it cooled I debated with Tim how it was only fair for me to taste test one piece before I gave it to my guinea-pig sister. Tim’s power of persuasion held sway and I eventually agreed that a whole cake did look better than one already cut up into pieces to disguise the fact a small morsel had been removed. It smelt lovely. So after cooling I wrapped it and deposited at my sisters, leaving it outside in the blue chest of draws under the patio as no one was home.

A few days later I spoke to Hannah.

“So how was the cake?”

“Err um… well the blueberries were fantastic, but it was SO salty!”

Surprise, surprise.

I have since discovered I used Black-strap Molasses, which turns out to be a very different cookie to Molasses. For now I have large jar of the stuff I need to use, and I’m tempting fate by considering tweaking the original recipe, only a few teaspoons this time, and the rest golden syrup. This time I’ll try a piece first.

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