Soft Molasses Cake

Need of a coffee cake recipe to celebrate National Coffee Cake Day on April 7? Follow Louisa Macculloch’s recipe for Soft Molasses Cake, which lists coffee as one of the ingredients.  Today’s coffee cake does not contain coffee, many people enjoy it with coffee.

Historic coffee cake recipes from the The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes (1878) and the 1889 The Every-Day Cook-Book and Encyclopedia of Practical Recipes (1889) include molasses, coffee and spices (similar to Louisa Macculloch’s recipe), as well as raisins and currants.

Spoiler alert: even though Louisa Macculloch’s Soft Molasses Cake is moist, delicious, and can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a latte on National Coffee Cake Day, the coffee flavor is not easily perceptible given the molasses in the cake. If you are craving the cinnamon and streusel of a contemporary coffee cake, a 19th-century “coffee cake” might not cut it, and you might need to grab your car keys to go to the store!

Original Recipe: Soft Molasses Cake

2 cups molasses

2-3 of a cup of butter

1 cup of coffee

3 cups flour measured before sifting

1 tablespoon of soda

1 teaspoon of ginger

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1 egg

Put butter & molasses in a pan. Let them come to a boil. Add spices, coffee in which soda is dissolved, the egg, not beaten, and then the flour.

Bake about ½ an hour. Delicious.


Adapted Recipe: Soft Molasses Cake

2 cups molasses

2/3 cup of butter, softened

1 cup of coffee, cooled

3 cups flour, measured before sifting

1 tablespoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of ginger

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift three cups of flour and set aside. Put softened butter and molasses in a 4-quart sauce pan over low to medium heat. Let it come to a boil and then stir in spices. Remove from heat.

Mix baking soda into coffee and then slowly add to the sauce pan. The mixture may double in size after the baking soda/coffee mixture is added. Keep stirring, add egg (not beaten). Stir in flour a little at a time until all combined.

Grease a 9”x 9” cake pan. Pour cake batter into pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool before serving with whipped cream.


For more historic coffee cake using recipes coffee andmolasses:

Square slice of a dark molasses cake with whipped cream on top set on a blue-checked glass dish.

Topic: Munchie Monday
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