[as pilfered directly from her site] Black Treacle: Containing 18 percent water, this dark, thick liquid is obtained from the residual molasses which is drained from the molds used in the sugar refining process. The flavor of molasses varies considerably depending on the source and origin of the raw sugar. It is generally considered too bitter or pronounced for culinary use but by blending with other intermediate refinery liquors and then evaporated and filtered it is valued in the U.K. for baking and the confectionery where a rich flavor, dark color, and moist texture are required such as in gingerbread and fruit cakes, and liquorice, which contains 20% or more treacle for flavor, moisture and sheen. As it contains only about 65% sugars and 4 to 9 percent minerals, it is far less sweet than sugar. It is considered to be of a higher quality than molasses. (It is a good source of iron, containing more than spinach and also calcium, containing more than milk. it is also high in potassium.)
And etc. God love her, I sure do.
July 2, 2004
Becky’s 44th birthday
It’s from scratch!
2 layers yellow butter cake with mini chocolate chips
Filled and frosted with classic egg white chocolate buttercream
I tell you, good cake pans and fresh baking powder a great cake make. But, the crumb was a little bigger and not so fine; is that d/t the choc chips? I tossed them in a little flour and then mixed them in at the very end, right before scraping the batter into the pans.
Everybody liked the cake and gave me complements, but I think it was too sweet. I reduced the sugar in the cake by ¼ cup to compensate for the chips, but maybe I should have reduced it more than that?
(8/8: !! doesn’t the sugar dissolving make a contribution to the crumb of the cake?? Would the decrease in sugar be the reason why the cake seemed to have a bigger crumb? Why am I not a food chemist?!)
(8/9: So of course I read up in The Book and on page 472, she states that “sugar contributes flavor [sweetness] and facilitates the incorporation of air into the fat….In a batter containing a large amount of sugar, the gas cells expand more before the batter sets b/c the sugar elevates the temperature at which the egg protein and the starch granules gelatinize. This creates a more open texture, weakening the cake’s structure and making it melt faster in the mouth.” And on page 23, “the butter cake derives its light texture from the air bubbles produced by creaming the sugar and fat and by the leavening—which enlarges these bubbles during baking.” So yes, it seems that decreasing the sugar would lead to a bigger crumb. I love science!!!)
Also, I used a not so bitter bittersweet chocolate for the majority of the choc in the frosting, so it was sweeter than usual. But that frosting has a real milk chocolate flavor to it; I think it would make a great mocha frosting. An easy buttercream to make, and I had all those egg whites left over from baking the cake, so it was good to use some of them.