January 1, 2015


Molasses seems like a substance that emanates from the earth itself: a gooey, gummy lava flow that's been cooking underground for millenia. But that's not the truth of molasses. While it's true that it's old (dating back to the mid 1500's), it is no longer the ubiquitous sweetener in our daily lives. It is usually the support for cinnamon, allspice, mace, ginger and the rest, but it's not often a featured flavour by itself. So when I tasted the Molasses Crumb Cakelet, I felt as though I tasted molasses for the first time, since there were no other flavours to distract me. There is nothing delicate about it--slightly bitter and a little earthy with a dark, spicy sweetness that intrigues me. Now I have a different appreciation of molasses.

My first reaction to them was they were odd, as the flavour was intense, and maybe they were too moist, or greasy, or I don't know what. But after a few days, the moisture seemed to even out, and the strength of the molasses settled down. I also realized that I was developing a palette for these tiny punch-you-in-the-face cakes. I mean that it took me a few days to give up my preconceived notions of what molasses should taste like, and accept their simplicity. I learned something here and am happy with the experience.

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  • I've never made a crumb topping that wasn't crunchy and buttery, so this blend of flour, sugar, salt and oil was very different. It was easy enough to make and it came together easily.

Crumb topping.
Crumb topping.


  • Again, using the crumb as part of the batter and then pouring boiling water over the whole thing, was a method I'd ever seen. It seemed to fly in the face of everything I understood about how temperature ofthe ingredients always dictates the final structure, but I'm here to learn and I certainly learned with this recipe.

Adding the liquid ingredients.
Adding the liquid ingredients.


  • Here I didn't follow the weight specification that Rose suggested because I wasn't sure if my mini cups were the exact same size as hers so I just poured the batter to about ¾ full

The cups ¾ full.
The cups ¾ full.

Sprinkling the crumb.
Sprinkling the crumb.

  • and baked it until they were firm to the touch.


  • The cakes unmolded without any stress as I had sprayed each cup with baking spray. Too much I think, because I think the cakes took on some bitterness from it.

Molasses Crumb Cakelettes, The Finer Cookie.
Molasses Crumb Cakelettes, The Finer Cookie.

  • With all the moisture in these cakes, their shelf life is quite amazing. They go and go without getting stale or tasting old. I think they get better with age, frankly.

Molasses Crumb Cakelettes, The Finer Cookie.
Molasses Crumb Cakelettes, The Finer Cookie.

WHAT ARE THE ALPHA BAKERS? : Here's how it works: once a week, for the next two years, 25 Alpha Bakers commit to baking their way through every recipe of Rose Levy Beranbaum's newly published The Baking Bible. Each week we post our experiences on our blog sites: our successes, our failures, our like and dislikes . The recipes are scheduled in advance so that everyone is baking the same recipe at the same time. No recipes can be shared in my Alpha Bakers The Baking Bible posts due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher, but if you love to bake, this is a must-have book. You can see other tutorials for the same recipe at the following link The Baking Bible Alpha Bakers at




Rachel   2017-01-07

They're beautiful, and so is your photography!

Milagritos   2017-01-07

What a lovely description of molasses! Can I chime in too? I love your photographs, they bring out the best of each confection.

Catherine   2017-01-07

Well your approach to the flavour of these is a lot more zen than mine. I'm glad you ended up enjoying them, or at least accepting them for who they are. And the cake stand is lovely

Kimberlie 2017-01-07

Thanks Catherine. I liked them once they mellowed a bit.

faithy   2017-01-07

Me too! I love that cake stand! I think it does taste better next few days..but I weren't very impressed with it.

Kimberlie 2017-01-07

The molasses has a strong flavour, no question. As I said to Catherine, I liked the cake once they mellowed.

Patricia Reitz   2017-01-07

"tiny punch you in the face cakes"...... love it. If all goes as planned I'll make these tomorrow. Looking forward to trying them. Excellent post!

Kimberlie 2017-01-07

Thanks Patricia!

Jeniffer   2017-01-07

Oh I do love that cake stand, it's so pretty :) and interesting reading of your "molasses" tasting experience.

evilcakelady   2017-01-07

I, too, love your cake plate. I don't think we'll have a chance to see if our cakes get better with age; they will barely be any left after 24 hours! I also think it is nice to experience the flavor of molasses on it's own.

Kimberlie 2017-01-07

Thanks Jen. Molasses on its own is delicious. I agree, they were delicious.

Vicki   2017-01-07

Great photo! Love the cake plate. I gave most of mine away so now I don't know how they taste the next day!

Kimberlie 2017-01-07

Thanks Vicki!

Michele   2017-01-07

Kim: BEAUTIFUL photos! (Do I sound like a broken record...?) I love these little cakes. Haven't gotten my post ready but that's because I'm too busy snacking on these little beauties! Your pictures are always such a treat!

Kimberlie 2017-01-07

Nope, your record is music to my ears.

Tony Bridges   2017-01-07

LOVE that serving platter - I must have one too! Please in box me details..... I so appreciated your story of the millennia molasses; it was quite visual and I could see the earth bubbling in my mind,

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