I probably should have studied my bottle of molasses before beginning this recipe. The ingredient list called for unsulfured molasses…I quickly ran into Whole Foods and snatched some Blackstrap molasses off the shelves along with some fresh ginger. Little did I know the flavor was much stronger, bitter and less sweet than the Brer Rabbit Mild Molasses in my cupboard which was ALSO unsulfured. Thank goodness I made just half a batch…I know I would love these made with ordinary molasses, but I just didn’t have time for a re-do. I did manage to eat half the baby cake below…it didn’t taste half bad with a big dollop of sweetened whip cream…but I bet I’ll sing another tune with my next attempt.
I altered the recipe only by leaving out the black pepper (and using the wrong molasses!)…I was planning to send these back to the dorms with my youngest and I knew the college crowd’s palates wouldn’t appreciate the bite of pepper in their dessert. Brownies and chocolate chip cookies were more their speed. I did whip up some candied orange peel for to garnish these mini cakes. I remember my mom making her candied citrus each Christmas…but my sisters and I were not impressed. We, like my son and his friends, were holding out for something less exotic. I guess it took a couple decades for my palate to mature, as this candied peel was excellent…and a gorgeous garnish for these baby cakes.
This Tuesdays with Dorie is hosted by Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories…and the recipe can be found on her blog or in Baking with Julia. I’ve shared the orange peel I made for garnishing.
Candied Orange Peel…adapted from Epicurious
1 large orange, top and bottom trimmed flat (about 1/4 inch removed)
2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups water
Cut through peel from top to bottom to make 4 equal sized segments. Remove peel, including pith, from each quadrant. Cut each piece into 1/4 inch strips. Cook in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse, then rinse again.
Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, stirring occasionally till sugar dissolves. Add peel and return to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes till peel is soft. Drain.
Toss peel in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, separating strips. Transfer strips to a sheet of foil and let stand till coating is dry, 1-2 days. May freeze up to 2 months.