Boqueron, or Torta Hu and Torta de Miel Negra, is a staple Old Fashioned Molasses Cake from Paraguay. If you're a fan of molasses, you'll love this authentic Paraguayan version of molasses cake. Boqueron is a very popular and beloved dessert in Paraguay, and it can be prepared in many varieties. The predominant flavorings include fresh orange juice and zest and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg, which provide an extra flavor boost. Perfect for Fall, this cake will surely be a hit with family and friends! 😋
- What is Molasses cake?
- Brief highlights of our Molasses cake recipe:
- Molasses cake Ingredients
- Tools you'll need
- How to Make Molasses Cake
- How to Make Orange Glaze
- How to Serve
- How to Store & Re-Heat
- How to Freeze
- Tips for Making The Best Molasses Cake
- Related Recipes:
- 📋 Recipe
What is Molasses cake?
Molasses cake is a sweet dessert with molasses syrup and spices like ginger and cinnamon. It can take various forms, such as a sheet cake or bundt cake, and is often enjoyed with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or caramel sauce. It's a classic dessert popular in American and British cuisines, especially during the fall and holidays.
Brief highlights of our Molasses cake recipe:
- Taste: This molasses cake has a rich flavor, combining sweetness from molasses, brown sugar, and a hint of citrusy brightness from freshly squeezed orange juice and zest. The spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg add warmth and complexity to the taste. The orange glaze provides a sweet and tangy finishing touch.
- Texture: The cake has a moist and tender crumb, thanks to avocado oil (or canola oil) and the right balance of wet and dry ingredients. It's dense and pleasantly chewy, making it a satisfying dessert.
- Method: The recipe involves a straightforward process of mixing wet and dry ingredients separately and then combining them to create the cake batter. The bundt pan is prepared by greasing and flouring it to prevent sticking. The orange glaze is a simple mix of confectioners' sugar and orange juice, contrasting the cake's richness.
Molasses cake Ingredients
Note: The full ingredients list is provided in the recipe card below.
For the Cake:
- Molasses: Provides a deep, rich flavor and moist texture to the cake.
- Avocado oil or Canola oil: Adds moisture and tenderness to the cake and helps to create a tender crumb.
- Light brown sugar: Enhances the molasses flavor and adds sweetness to the cake.
- Orange zest: Adds a bright, citrusy note to the cake, which balances the sweetness and richness of the molasses.
- Eggs: Help bind the ingredients together and structure the cake.
- Freshly squeezed orange juice: Adds moisture to the cake and complements the orange zest.
- All-purpose flour: Forms the cake's structure and provides the base for the other ingredients.
- Baking soda: This helps the cake to rise and creates a light texture.
- Baking powder: This allows the cake to rise and provides a tender crumb.
- Ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg: Add warmth and depth of flavor to the cake.
- Pure vanilla extract: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients and adds a subtle sweetness.
For the Orange glaze:
- Confectioners' sugar: Provides sweetness and creates a smooth, creamy texture for the glaze.
- Freshly squeezed orange juice: Adds flavor and tanginess to the glaze and helps to thin it out to a pourable consistency.
Tools you'll need
- Stand Mixer or Mixer
- 12 cup Non Stick Bundt Cake
- Silicone Spatula
- Mitten Oven
- Liquid Measuring Cups
- Dry Measuring Cups
How to Make Molasses Cake
Note: The full instructions are provided in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon of butter, then add 2 tablespoons of flour and shake and tap to coat the pan's interior; set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the avocado oil, light brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and molasses until well combined. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine orange juice and orange zest.
Add the flour and orange mixture to the avocado oil mixture, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients in three parts, starting and ending with the dry. Fill the prepared pan with the batter. Bake the Molasses Cake "Boqueron" for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely for at least 20 minutes.
How to Make Orange Glaze
Combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Use a large spoon to drizzle the glaze all over the cake and allow the glaze to dry. Slice the Molasses Cake and serve.
- Molasses: If you don't have molasses, you could substitute with an equal amount of dark corn syrup or maple syrup. Note that the flavor and texture of the cake will be different if you use a substitute.
- Avocado or Canola oil: You could use any neutral-tasting oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed oil, instead of avocado or canola oil.
- Brown sugar: You could use light or dark brown sugar in the recipe, depending on your preference. Alternatively, you could substitute with granulated or coconut sugar, but remember that the molasses flavor will be less pronounced.
- Orange zest: If you don't have an orange, use lemon zest or leave it out altogether.
- All-purpose flour: You could use a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour, but note that the cake's texture may differ.
- Baking soda and baking powder: If you don't have both leavening agents, you could use one or the other. Just note that the rise and texture of the cake may be slightly different.
- Ground spices: You could adjust the amounts of the spices based on your preference or substitute with a premixed spice blend like pumpkin or apple pie spice.
- Vanilla extract: If you don't have vanilla extract, you could substitute it with an equal amount of maple syrup or almond extract, but note that the flavor of the cake will be different.
- Add nuts: Add chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds to the batter for added crunch and texture.
- Add dried fruit: You could add raisins, currants, or chopped dried apricots or dates to the batter for a sweet and chewy addition.
- Add chocolate chips: If you're a chocolate lover, add a cup of chocolate chips to the batter for a sweet and decadent twist.
- Use different spices: While the recipe calls for cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, you could experiment with spices like cardamom, allspice, or anise for a different flavor profile.
- Make it vegan: To make the recipe vegan, replace the eggs with a vegan egg substitute, such as flax eggs or aquafaba, and use non-dairy milk instead of orange juice.
- Add a glaze: While the recipe calls for an orange glaze, you could experiment with different glaze flavors, such as a lemon glaze, a maple glaze, or a spiced glaze with cinnamon and cloves.
- Make cupcakes: Instead of baking the cake in a large pan, you could divide the batter into muffin cups and bake for individual servings. Top with frosting or glaze for a sweet treat.
- Make a layered cake: Bake two or three cake layers and sandwich them with frosting or whipped cream for a special occasion cake.
How to Serve
Molasses cake can be served in various ways, depending on your preference. For example, you could do it warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert. Alternatively, serve it at room temperature with a cup of coffee or tea for a midday snack. The cake also pairs well with a drizzle of caramel sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar for added sweetness.
You could also experiment with different toppings or garnishes, such as fresh berries, chopped nuts, or a sprinkle of sea salt. Whatever way you choose to serve it, the rich, warm flavors of the cake are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
How to Store & Re-Heat
To store: Molasses cake, allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic or aluminum foil and store it at room temperature for 3-4 days. If you want to keep it longer, you could freeze the cake for 2-3 months. To freeze, wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic, aluminum foil, or a freezer-safe container.
To reheat: The cake, you could wrap individual slices in a damp paper towel and microwave them for 15-20 seconds or until warm. Alternatively, warm the cake in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated. Watch the cake carefully when reheating to prevent it from drying or burning. You could also top the warm cake with a drizzle of caramel sauce or a scoop of ice cream for an extra indulgent treat.
Make-AheadMolasses cake can be made ahead of time for convenience, especially if you're planning to serve it for a special occasion or event. To make the cake ahead of time, prepare the batter as directed in the recipe, then pour it into the baking pan and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. You could refrigerate the unbaked cake for up to 24 hours before baking or freeze it for 2-3 months before baking. If you freeze the unbaked cake, thaw it completely in the refrigerator before baking. Once thawed, bake the cake as the recipe directs and allow it to cool completely before serving.
How to FreezeMolasses cake can be frozen for up to 2-3 months, making it an excellent option for those who want to prepare it in advance or save leftovers for later. To freeze molasses cake, let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic and aluminum foil. Be sure to label the cake with the date and contents before placing it in the freezer. When ready to enjoy the frozen cake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, warm the cake in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated.
Tips for Making The Best Molasses Cake
- Follow the recipe: Follow the molasses cake recipe directions precisely.
- Measure Properly: Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup, then level it with the back of a knife or use the weight measurements. ( I use a 240 ml Dry Measuring cup, every cup is 125g of flour).
- Use room temperature ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature (this helps ensure everything gets incorporated properly; not doing this can result in poor emulsification).
- Butter and Flour the Pan: Butter a 12-cup of Non-Stick Bundt Cake, add a few tablespoons of flour into the pan, then shake, turn, and tap the pan so that the flour lightly and evenly coats the bottom and sides. Finally, tap excess flour out of the buttered and floured pan.
- Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift dry ingredients but not sugar to combine and aerate, making a fluffier molasses cake. Then, place it in a fine-mesh strainer over a piece of parchment paper, and shake it until everything's on the paper: When it's time to add, pick up the paper and let the ingredients slide out into the mixing bowl. However, if you don't have one, whisk the dry ingredients for 30 seconds to combine.
- Beat in Eggs: One at a time, add the eggs, ensuring that they emulsify or blend completely with the butter mixture. Then, if desired, flavor with vanilla extract or other flavorings. It's easier to incorporate eggs that are at room temperature. To get the eggs to warm up faster. For a few minutes, place them in a bowl of warm water.
- Alternate the Wet and Dry Ingredients: Often, a recipe calls for adding wet and dry ingredients in alternating batches. This helps prevent the gluten in the flour from developing too much, which causes heavier and not-so-fluffy cake. Also, do not overmix — overworking the flour makes for tough results.
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan: Pour the batter into the 12-cup of Non-Stick Bundt Cake and smooth the top.
- Bake and Test for Doneness: Insert a wooden skewer or a toothpick into the center of a cake and see if it comes out clean; if it does, the cake is made. You may also notice the molasses cake pulling away from the pan's sides. When you get more practice, you can tell if the cake is made when you lightly press on the top and feel a slight spring back.
- Cool the Cake: Remove the molasses cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack until completely cool.
What if my molasses cake is too dense or dry?
Ensure you’re not over-measuring the flour, which can make the cake dense. Also, check the moisture balance—too little oil or molasses can lead to dryness.
Why did my cake not rise properly?
The freshness of the baking powder and baking soda is crucial; if they’re old, they won’t work effectively. Additionally, ensure you don’t overmix the batter, which can deflate the rising agents.
Can I substitute the avocado oil?
Yes, canola oil or mild olive oil can be used instead of avocado oil.
How can I make my molasses cake moister?
Don’t overbake the cake, as this will dry it out. Add more molasses or orange juice to the batter for added moisture.
What can I use instead of orange zest and juice?
Lemon zest and juice can work as a substitute, or for a non-citrus option, use milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.Why is my cake sticking to the Bundt pan?
Ensure you butter and flour the pan thoroughly, and let the cake cool for 10 minutes before attempting to remove it from the pan.
My cake is too sweet; how can I adjust that?
Reduce the light brown sugar slightly, and consider a less sweet glaze, or use less of it.
Can I add other flavors to the cake?
Feel free to incorporate other warm spices or even fold in nuts or dried fruit into the batter for added texture and flavor.
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How to Make Molasses Cake
- 500 ml (2 cups) Molasses
- 250 ml (1 cup) avocado oil or canola oil
- 57 g (4 tablespoons) light brown sugar or dark brown sugar
- zest from 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 eggs , room temperature
- 250 ml (1 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 500 g all-purpose flour , sifted
- 4 g (1teaspoon) baking soda
- 15 g (1 tablespoon) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoons ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the Orange Glaze:
- 120 g (1 cup) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon of butter, then add 2 tablespoons of flour and shake and tap to coat the interior of the pan; set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the avocado oil, light brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and molasses until well combined.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, combine orange juice and orange zest. Add the flour mixture and orange mixture to the avocado oil mixture, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients in three parts, starting and ending with the dry. Fill the prepared pan with the batter. Bake the Molasses Cake "Boqueron" for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely, at least 20 minutes.
How to Make Orange Glaze
- Combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Use a large spoon to drizzle the glaze all over the cake and allow the glaze to dry. Slice the Molasses Cake "Boqueron" and serve.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.