From the sublime to the ridiculous(ly easy). Last week's layered cheesecake is the kind of recipe RLB is known for: the best ingredients, multiple components, plan-ahead with resting periods, rich but not heavy, not overly sweet, and impressive to serve and to eat. This is the kind of recipe people are talking about when they say they can't do Rose's recipes because they're too difficult or complicated. These cakelets are the comback for that complaint because they have ingredients you're likely to have on hand all the time, nothing unusual to buy or track down, and incredibly simple to mix up.
Do people always have molasses in their pantry? I don't know. Molasses has fallen out of favor, I think. It can be overpowering, and I now greatly prefer the taste of Lyle's Golden Syrup to either molasses or dark corn syrup, although I usually have both on hand. I didn't know about "mild flavored" molasses (compared to full-flavored) until last time I baked with Woody, and he told me that he and Rose always used mild-flavored Grandma's brand. I got Brer Rabbit because my grocery store doesn't carry Grandma's. I'll probably never do a taste test.
You make the "crumbs" with flour, sugar, salt, and oil. That's it.
Then a small portion of the crumb mixture is removed to make the actual "crumbs" that you sprinkle on top of the small muffin/cakes. Hence the "crumb cakelets."
Then you add molasses, boiling water, and baking soda, and mix everything in the mixer for a minute or two. At first it looks like you've done something horribly wrong because the batter is very thin, but after everything is thoroughly mixed, it no longer looks like a mistake.
You could avoid an extra dirty dish by not pouring the batter into a four-cup measure, but I wouldn't advise it. It's way easier to pour 17 grams from the cup than it is to spoon it out in the cavities. My muffin pans are very mini, so mine were more like 15 to 16 grams.
Don't forget the reserved crumbs! I almost did, and their crunchy texture adds a lot to the final product.
Warning #2: Make sure these are baked through! I took my first batch out after 9 minutes, but they were underdone. I ate one, Jim ate one. Although Jim said they were good, I didn't agree. I put them out for the squirrels to eat. They still haven't eaten them, and I'm going to be quite insulted if they ignore them.
These are from the batch that were properly baked. It took 12 minutes, although I had two pans in the oven which probably increased the baking time.
Heavenly Cake Bakers, remember when we were baking through that book and we all had to get Financier molds because we had about four different Financier recipes? I only had three mini-muffin pans, so I find these when I was looking for something small. I actually liked this little loaf shape better than the muffins, but they hold more than 17 grams. I filled them with about 32 grams of batter and was very generous with the crumb topping.
Perfect little tea cakes! I liked these, and I love having a recipe that's so easy to make. This is the epitome of "Quick and Easy." But I thought they could use a little something else. I think that if I were to make them again, I'd add one or more of the spices usually associated with gingerbread: ginger (duh), cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, or allspice. And maybe I'd use half brown sugar and half white sugar. I know that any additions would detract from the wonderful simplicity of these cakes, and maybe I'd end up deciding that simple is better, but I'd like to try some additions. (Some of the Alphas have already been talking about adding orange or lemon, and those flavors sound promising too). I would never mess with the crumbs, though--I love crispy crumbs.