Food & Drink

How to make Treacle Sponge…

Steamed Treacle Sponge is an absolute classic of British desserts, along with Sussex Pond pudding, Lemon Meringue Pie, Queen of Puddings, Treacle tart and Spotted Dick–all of which probably sound desperately old fashioned and quaint to at least half the people who read this site. Which is a shame, really, because the British have been told that their own cuisine is bad and unsophisticated so long that they’re become even ashamed of their truly great recipes. Treacle Sponge is definitely one of those, and–it turns out–it’s also really easy to make. I got my mother to tell me the recipe she uses so that I could cook one for Cal, Paul, Amy, Yoz, Bob and Elina yesterday. Turned out perfectly, and I can tell you that’s not because of any substantial skill on my part.

Anyway, I thought I’d post the recipe on so some of you people could try it out. This will serve a double function. Firstly, I won’t forget it. Secondly, I’ll have posted something! Over the last eight years of writing here, I’ve pretty regularly come to a point where I get tongue-tied and clumsy and can’t get anything out of my head. Normally, this is because the things I want to write are rather more substantial than the time I have available for them. The longer I wait the higher the weight of expectation I put upon myself until I stop being able to write at all. The only way to break it is to write anything that comes to mind and not worry too much about quality. So here we go!

Equipment you’ll need:

  • A big bowl to mix stuff in
  • An electric whisk / mixer
  • A plastic heat-resistant bowl about eight inches across and six-eight inches deep
  • Silver foil or some kind (or a lid for the bowl)
  • A steamer or a saucepan big enough to fit the bowl in completely when placed on top of a saucer

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 4 oz of self-raising flour (or one cup of all purpose flour plus a teaspoon or so of baking powder)
  • 4 oz of caster (or superfine) sugar
  • 4 oz (or one stick) of soft butter (properly soft, like you’d left it out for a good four or five hours)
  • 2 eggs
  • Golden Syrup

The actual preparation and cooking is amazingly simple. Get your flour, baking powder (if needed), caster sugar, butter and eggs in your big bowl and mix em up a bit, then pull our your whisk and have at them until they’re all smooth. Try not to dip your finger in the mixture as it tastes awesome and you won’t have any left.

Get your steamer simmering away gently with the lid on, grease the inside of your smaller plastic bowl with some butter, put three or so tablespoons of Golden Syrup in the bottom, then lay on your smooth mixture on top. A spatula will get out all the gooey bits. Grease up a bit of silver foil and wrap it around the top of your bowl to seal it (your bowl will only be about a third to half full), place it in the steamer, put the lid on the steamer and leave it for 90 minutes. Top up the water in the steamer about halfway through to make sure it doesn’t all boil away. If you’re running a bit late, another few minutes doesn’t hurt the sponge.

When you’re done, take the bowl out of the steamer, take off the foil, put a plate on top and turn the whole thing over. Get another couple of tablespoons of Golden Syrup and drizzle them over the sponge. And scarf like a mofo with a bucket of Bird’s Custard (easily preparable in a microwave if you’re lazy). Best dessert ever.

One reply on “How to make Treacle Sponge…”

Ooh, yes, Treacle Sponge is one of my favourites, and I’m going to have to make this for Kev!
You’re so right about the attitude to British cuisine. I’ve had arguments with people who insist there’s “no such thing as British cuisine”, which I find most depressing. There’s nothing like a good roast beef with Yorkshire pudding!! (If you’re a meat eater, that is!)
I need to find my old recipe for flapjack too. Although perhaps, given my current… er… width, perhaps I should leave it lost.

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