Emily Bergl and her cake
Ah, Golden Syrup! Also known as “light treacle,” it’s a British thing. Thick, sweet and (duh!) syrupy, it has the same color and consistency as honey, but is made from cane sugar. So it’s basically just melted sugar. 100% sugar. Sweet, pure, delicious sugar. And doesn’t the name Golden Syrup sound delightful and kind of magical?
My mother is of British extraction — well, she’s from New Zealand, which was a British colony back in the day — so we always had a can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup slowly crusting up in the back of a cupboard.
I loved this stuff — I think my Mum grudgingly allowed me to use it as an oatmeal topping, but only on special occasions! Because, you know, she grew up when sugar was rationed, so . . .
This recipe below is from Emily Bergl, currently appearing in Plenty at the Public Theater. (She found this recipe on a BBC site called Good Food.) I’ve adapted it to American measurements. (I hope I did the math right!)
Golden Syrup Cake
1 cup butter (that’s two sticks)
1 cup sugar (light brown adds depth but white is fine
1 1/3 Golden Syrup
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Large Eggs
1 1/4 cups milk *
4 tbsp Golden Syrup
— You’ll need a 10″ springform pan for this cake.
*Emily substituted coconut milk
- Preheat the oven to 140C/fan (or 160/C – gas mark 3). Grease the tin and line the base with baking (parchment) paper, leaving a little to cover the bottom corners and sides. Press into place.
- Place butter, syrup and sugar into a large pan and heat gently until the ingredients are just melted together, stirring occassionally. Leave to cool for 10 minutes – it helps if you place the pan away from the hob during this time since it will remain warm.(Oh, the hob!! The hob!! It’s like we’re sitting down to tea with Mr. Tumnis in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!)
- Beat the eggs with the milk. Add the flour and milk/egg mixture to the cooled syrup mixture in the pan and beat steadily with a wooden spoon until all the lumps have gone. This may take a few minutes, so you will need a little patience. Pour the mixture into the tin.
- Bake for around 50 minutes. The cake will be well-risen and springy, but still very moist. After a few minutes cooling time, pierce the cake all over with a skewer and spoon the extra golden syrup over the top. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
- This cake keeps for a week and only improves with time. It’s a real treat and a cake you will be asked to make again and again.