Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle Icing

First off, let me dispel any bewilderment experienced on behalf of my North American readers when I use the words ‘black treacle’. The equivalent in your part of the world is molasses. The last recipe I posted that contained this dark treat caused such confusion that I had to attach a note to the bottom of the post detailing an equivalent.

Secondly, it is necessary to convey just how good the icing employed in this recipe is. I believe the most succinct way to approach such a conveyance would be to employ a term made famous by Tina Turner during the last year of the 1980s. This icing is ‘simply the best’ and should be sampled by each and every one of you before you breathe your last. It is truly devastating that the recipe for this wonder cake came from the BBC GoodFood website and not from the extraordinary depths of my grey matter. For if I had been the one to devise such a delight then wouldn’t that, in turn, make me ‘better than all the rest’?

When attempting this cake make sure that the sugar is lump free when being added to the mixture. This will ensure a smooth and consistent batter; there is nothing worse than finding a lump of boiled sugar half way through a delicious bite of moist apple cake. Additionally, try to be as light handed as possible when handling the cake mixture, since the amount of air remaining in the batter when it enters the oven dictates how successfully the cake will rise. One way to ensure that there is plenty of air in the flour is to gently sprinkle it into the bowl from a height of around a foot. Remember never to compress the flour when mixing the dry ingredients together; instead, use a lifting motion.

Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle Icing

Makes 1 two-layer sandwich cake, with a little left over for cupcakes


For the Cake:

• 300g plain flour

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

• 140g dark brown soft sugar

• 50g golden caster sugar

• 250ml sunflower oil

• 4 eggs, beaten

• 3 unpeeled apples, grated (include core)

• 100g walnuts, finely chopped

For the Icing:

• 100g butter, softened

• 50g dark soft brown sugar

• 1 tbsp black treacle

• 200g tub full fat soft cheese


1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Line two 20cm cake tins. Mix together the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Stir in the sugars being careful to remove any lumps. Gently beat in the oil, eggs and grated apple, before folding in two thirds of the walnuts – the rest will be used in decoration. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins, there should be some left over for some cupcakes. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.

2. To make the icing simply beat all of the requisite ingredients together until smooth and consistent. Place it in the fridge to cool until thick; this should take around 10 minutes. Spread half the mixture on top of each sandwich and place one on top of the other. Sprinkle over the remaining walnuts for decoration.

frugal feeding, living, meals, recipe, cake, baking, dessert

Cost: This cake does come in at a little more than what is usual for this blog. Though, £4 for a cake this filling and rich, in addition to six or seven cupcakes isn’t bad at all. Indeed, as long as you aren’t too large and greedy this cake should yield as many as ten or eleven slices.

  • 0

    Overall Score

  • Reader Rating: 0 Votes

You May Also Like

109 comments on “Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle Icing

  1. Rosemary Mullally
    November 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Good looking cake!

  2. Food, Flowers, Herbs and Life!
    November 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    What a divine cake! Two of my favorite ingredients – apples and walnuts! Excellent!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks! They are now two of mine too, perfect combination.

  3. ceciliag
    November 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I also love apples and walnuts together, but i have not seen treacle here at all, i am still having trouble finding golden syrup!.. c

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      They are a great wholesome combo! Molasses!

  4. notesfromrumbleycottage
    November 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    This North American girl needs to ask what is “golden caster sugar?”

    • KitchenKraftInc
      November 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      The closest thing I’ve seen while Googling it, is light brown sugar, but that’s not right either. I read that you can find it at Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca. Since I’ve got (the largest location) Whole foods store just a mile and a half from home, I’ll be heading there! : )

      • frugalfeeding
        November 21, 2011 at 8:50 pm

        Caster sugar is just really fine un-refined cane sugar. You could get some light brown sugar and use that, or preferably grind it until it’s grains are smaller.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      See the reply to the other reply 😛

  5. JeniferR
    November 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Oh wow. This looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

  6. jane
    November 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    What a gorgeous looking cake!

  7. Cook Quilt Make and Bake
    November 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Looks pretty darned good, getting your RDA of Black treacle at the moment aren’t you 😛

  8. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    November 21, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Molasses and cream cheese icing. Wow. This looks amazing!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks! It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made.

  9. thehomeheart
    November 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! And thank you for clairifying the treacle…I thought it was something else entirely (shudders).

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Do, it’ll be amazing… I promise. I dred to think what you thought it was…

  10. Kristina
    November 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    This looks absolutely yummy! Thank you for the recipe! 🙂

  11. Meredith
    November 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    This looks superb. My mom used to make a cake like this, but not sure she used molasses in the frosting– sounds perfect. I know about treacle from reading my favorite scene in Alice in Wonderland when the door mouse tells the story of three sisters in a well, living on treacle. Of course they were all very sick eating only treacle.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks! I read again recently, it’s such a fabulous book. The treacle isn’t overpowering, it gives it a subtle dark flavour.

  12. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge
    November 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    What a pretty cake! And I’m sure equally as delicious 🙂

  13. thebigfatnoodle
    November 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Wow, wow, wow! That is a definite winner! it looks amazing and you can just tell how delicious it would be.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks! I know, I was very pleased with it indeed.

  14. Chef Pamela
    November 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks for all the clarifications for treacle and golden caster sugar, I was going to ask. But now I can just go make the cake.
    This looks Yummy!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      No problem :D. If you do I hope you enjoy it.

  15. latetedelegumes
    November 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    This look absolutely delicious!

  16. Jen
    November 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    This looks fantastic! A perfect fall cake.

  17. bitsandbreadcrumbs
    November 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Oh my gosh, that is one of the best looking and sounding cakes I’ve ever seen and really, it’s making my mouth water looking at the pictures! Just to clarify, Rufus is correct the assumption that “full fat soft cheese” is what we call “creamed cheese” in the states? When I first read it I wasn’t sure.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      Wow! A compliment indeed. Yes he is, they are one and the same!

  18. The Barefoot Indian
    November 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Tis the season for apple cake!! So many ways to top it too! I must try this topping on my next cake!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      Oh yes it is. I adore apples too :D. The icing truly is amazing.

  19. petitedecadence
    November 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    This cake sounds so tempting…..I really need to find a substitute for treacle or molasses, it’s hard to get around here. Maybe I’ll try it out with piloncillo!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm

      It is very tempting. I want some more :D. I’ve never heard of piloncillo, but let me know how it goes, if it goes.

  20. Jen R
    November 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Oh my that looks devine, I want some now!! lols

  21. Dan McCullough
    November 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Great recipe and amazing photos, as always. And thanks for the shout-out to Tina Turner!

  22. Kimby
    November 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    This looks and sounds entirely yummy!

  23. k.m.
    November 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I love molasses (er, dark treacle!) cake so much, but I never would’ve thought to put some in the icing. I’ve actually never made a layer cake before, but now I’ve got the perfect excuse.

    (Also, I’m relieved to learn that dark treacle is molasses, because I have a very hard time getting treacle here in the States; I usually either order it online or have to make do with corn syrup, which isn’t quite the same. Sigh…)

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Oh you should try it! Layer cakes, or whatever you want to call them are fantastic. I don’t think they’re exactly the same, but they are VERY similar apparently.

  24. Run Eat Play
    November 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Looks great – I love apples and walnuts!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

      Thanks! Me too, they are a match made in heaven too.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      They are delicious in combination.

  25. Karen
    November 22, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Your cake sounds great and you know that I am always on the lookout for a good apple recipe since I have three hundred apple trees. We all have the occasional problem with ingredients and measurements when we have bloggers from all over the world…not a problem.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      That’s an awful lot of apple… I have 1. haha.

  26. spree
    November 22, 2011 at 1:03 am

    This looks sounds glorious (but of course you knew that.) I WILL be trying this. How can I NOT after your persuasive words? Nice photos too! Thanks. Lovely post.

  27. Michelle
    November 22, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Looks lovely! However, I must say I’m afraid of cake recipes from you British folks after having had bad luck recently with both Slater and Ottolenghi cake recipes. I’m thinking it must be the difference in flours, much like the problems we encountered trying to do the no-knead bread in France. But, for sure, I’ll keep that molasses and cream cheese thought in mind.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks! Don’t be afraid. There are links to conversion tables on the blog. I’m better than those guys anyway :P.

  28. happygoodtime
    November 22, 2011 at 2:20 am

    What a beautiful cake! I love the simplicity here.

    I’ve never tasted black treacle on it’s own, but I can imagine how delicious this icing would be. Yum!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks! Black treacle is VERY dark so I wouldn’t advise eating it on its own. This a good example of that since I only add 1 tbsp.

  29. Bam's Kitchen
    November 22, 2011 at 2:24 am

    This cake looks so moist and delicious.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      It is very moist indeed, I think the apple helps that a lot.

  30. Savory Simple
    November 22, 2011 at 4:30 am

    A perfect cake for the holidays!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      Indeed it is. One of my very best I think.

  31. Twin Taste
    November 22, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Yum! This looks devine!

  32. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    November 22, 2011 at 5:52 am

    It does look like the perfect cake, but I’m not sure I can wait for it to bake! Would it be cheating to just make and eat the icing first? It sounds amaaazing… 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      Well, yes it would be cheating… but no one would blame you.

  33. Joanne
    November 22, 2011 at 5:54 am

    LOL when I saw the recipe on my google reader I was like “ooo what is black treacle.” My first guess would not have been molasses. Interesting!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      So, what would have been your first guess?

  34. Just A Smidgen
    November 22, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I believe I was one of the treacle confused bunch… glad you worked that out for us! This cake looks just like one my mom used to make.. I love all of the flavors in this one:) I now have to wait for a special occasion so I have an excuse to make one!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      No problem :D. You don’t need an excuse to make this – it’s that good.

  35. thelittleloaf
    November 22, 2011 at 8:06 am

    That treacle icing looks absolutely gorgeous. I often make coffee and walnut cake, but have never tried an appley version…will have to get into the kitchen pretty soon and make this 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you, it has such a wonderful colour. I’ll post my recipe for coffee and walnut cake sometime soon I fear… I have left over walnuts.

  36. ionelou7
    November 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I think it’s pretty darn reasonable at £4 when you consider that a shop-bought cupcake alone will set you back around £3 in London!!!!

    Nice montage shots too.

    Black treacle icing caused me to indulge in the same initial eyebrow raise that I once gave to Guinness icing – but my experience of ‘strange’ icings is that they are usually utterly amazing!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      Oh yes, very reasonable indeed. Don’t raise an eyebrow, it’s delicious. Trust me and give it a go!

  37. thecompletecookbook
    November 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

    🙂 Mandy

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      It really is exactly that. I wish it could go on forever.

  38. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    November 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

    This looks so good it’s not even fair!

  39. movita beaucoup
    November 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Mother of pearl! This looks amazing. And if Tina Turner might approve of the frosting, I will too…

  40. hlc17
    November 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Yum! What a perfect recipe. I am a huge fan of molasses. I am running out of recipes to use up the abundance of apples off our trees this year. And, for the first time, I have also harvested black walnuts off our property – this will be a good use for some of them… Thanks!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks so much! Why not give it a go? That’s really cool, by the way.

  41. Bluejellybeans
    November 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Best cake ever!
    Better than any cake, any cake I’ve ever bake!

  42. thelegaltart
    November 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

    This looks amazing! What is not love about a tiered cake. Yum!!

  43. Smedette
    November 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Wow! What a fabulous looking cake!

  44. Susan
    November 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    This post made me smile. Although now I will have Tina Turner going through my head for the next seven hours. Love the combination of apple walnut cake and toffee/treacle, it’s the perfect mix of wholesome and decadent.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks! I aim to please 😀 I’m sorry about the Tina turner problem.

  45. sylviangirl
    November 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Oh wow, this looks divine!

  46. Julia
    November 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Beautiful! Although I’m not pleased about having “Simply the Best” stuck in my head now. I think I’d get over it if I had some of this cake though 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks and I’m sorry about that. It’s worth it for the cake 😀

  47. Ruby
    November 28, 2011 at 3:30 am

    What a beautiful cake! I was another one of those North Americans who had no idea what black treacle was until I read this 🙂