Baking British Cake Desserts Recipes Vegetarian

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.

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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.

109 replies on “Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle Icing”

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! : )

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.

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.

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…)

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

oh my goodness! this looks amazing. and it helps that you take quite good photos of your cooking projects!

ps- I love how you felt the need to “translate” between American and British English (molasses/treacle) 🙂 I’m on the same boat..British boyfriend but American education!

I have to say, out of date or not, this cake looks amazing! It also looks like something to take our lecturers ever inquisitive mind off our shortcomings! I feel some palm greasing black walnut and treacle style coming on! 😉

I love that I found this recipe for apple a walnut cake with treacle icing. Can’t wait to try it. I grew up in England and remember the good old night of Guy Fawkes, especially with the yummy treats like treacle toffee. Treacle was my favourite and I haven’t had any in years!!!

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