At this time of year we like to bake with spices. This spice cake with chocolate frosting is one of our family’s favorites.
It’s basically a Yorkshire Parkin but we add chocolate frosting to make it similar to a cake we remember from childhood. A local Philadelphia bakery used to make something called George Washington Cake. This is not the same thing exactly. That cake had a pie-type of crust on the bottom. I don’t have that recipe. But my recipe tastes similar.
We often make this cake for Guy Fawkes Day on the 5th of November. But why stop there? The flavors are perfect all winter long.
You can enjoy this cake right away, but may we suggest you wait a day. The spices meld together making this cake get better and better with age. You can keep it in an airtight container for up to a week.
Spice Cake With Chocolate Frosting
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup oat bran or rolled oats processed to a powder in a blender
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment or baking paper. Grease the paper with butter and dust lightly with flour.
- In a saucepan, melt the molasses, butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and milk over a low heat. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Sift together the oat bran, flour, spices, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour in the butter mixture and beat. Add one egg at a time and continue to beat until you get a smooth paste.
- Pour the mixture into the square cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
- Turn the cake out of the pan, remove the paper, and cool on a wire rack right side up.
- When completely cool, spread chocolate frosting on the top, leaving the sides bare.
We used to get George Washington cake at Halls Bakery on Broad Street (Logan) in Philadelphia. I’ve been looking for the recipe, I will have to try your version. Thanks very much!
We used to get it at a bakery in Juniata Park called Blaisey’s. It had a pie crust or a graham cracker crust. I can’t find that recipe anywhere. But this tastes similar with the chocolate frosting. Let me know if you try it 🙂
I’m from Philadelphia and got it at Smith’s Bakery and Kensington I also got it with a crust on the bottom but it was more like a pie crust I remember when I was a little girl I would go for Halloween and they give it peace out free
Yes, so would our local bakery. They gave it out at Halloween. Such fun!
Obert-Thorn bakery at 22nd and Mifflin in South Philly made it every February back in the 50’s and 60’s with a pie crust! Heaven!
Rating is for Joe’s comment, I have not tried this recipe. EVERYTHING at Obert-Thorn Bakery was HEAVEN!…and just a block from my house at 21st & Mifflin.
We used to get it at Webb’s bakery at Front & Westmoreland.
we would get it from Webb’s bakery all the time. We lived right around the corner on Hope St.
Me too…..they had with and without icing…..icing extra $ and a treat….i would get one on Front st Webbs walking from St Hughs when i could.
I used to get the George Washington cake from Brodbeck’s Bakery in Penndel just outside of Philly. It had a crust that seemed somewhere between a pie crust and a shortbread crust. My 93 year old aunt has been asking me if I can find a place that still sells it. I am going to try this recipe, then I’ll experiment with a crust.
If you figure out that crust, please come back and let me know how to make it. Thanks!
It’s amazing how people from all over Philadelphia remember this cake. But the recipe seems to have disappeared over time.
I also have been looking for a bakery around Philadelphia that makes Martha Washington cake with pie crust bottom. Glad to know I’m not the only one.
We’ll get to the bottom of this mystery!
We got our cake from Ciminera Bakery in South Philly No crust on bottom. Bottom had flecks of coconut
That sounds delicious.
I don’t remember a crust,but I was very young when I tasted it from my neighbors and fell in love with it,it was in the 50’s ,but I seem to remember raisins or currants in it
It seems to be a cake that was made all over Philadelphia by different bakeries with slightly differing recipes. I can’t believe that it has just disappeared from the records over time.
I grew up in the Phila burbs but spend many weekends in the 1950s in the So. Philly home of my grandmother and aunt. My aunt would take me to the bakery for a square of spice cake with choc icing which we called gingerbread. I seem to recall getting it from multiple bakeries. It was my favorite treat then and the whole experience is a favorite memory now. My husband who grew up in So. Phila remembers it being sold by the square in corner grocery stores. This is an excellent recipe. I paired it with the classic Hershey cocoa frosting. Thanks for the memories.
So many memories. I’m happy you liked the recipe.
I have been looking for a recipe for a George Washington cake with a pie crust bottom for years! As a little girl I used to go to a bakery on Ogontz near 77th. Can’t wait to try this recipe and then play with the pie crust bottom.
I too have been trying to find a recipe for the cake Village Bakery in Fairview area of Camden called Martha Washington cake, also with a crust and chocolate ganache frosting. Was my favorite and happy to see this recipe. Must try it and add a crust. Also, there was a great pastry called McGintys, a long cinnamon twist with a gooey, buttery coconut topping, which I wonder if anyone has a recipe for. Sold at Ackerlies(sp) bakery on Broadway in Camden. To die for!
Is it important to use blackstrap molasses or can i use regular molasses?
You can use regular molasses. That’s just what I happened to have. Let me know how your cake turns out.
iS THIS LIKE THE BOXED SPECIALTY CRUMB CAKE I HAD AS A CHILD GROWING UP, LIKE ENTEMANS CRUMB CAKE. tHE COMPANY HOWEVER MADE A SPICED CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING AM GOING BACK OF COURSE AS i AM 77 YEARS OLD. This is close but I might add raisens and nuts!
This is basically a Yorkshire Parkin recipe with chocolate frosting added. It’s similar to gingerbread. It does not taste like anything I’ve ever had from Entenmann’s. I think raisins and nuts would work very well in this cake. Let me know how it turns out.
I can’t locate the recipe for the chocolate frosting.
Hello,i grew up in kensington, and there was a tiny bakery on frankford ave and sergeant sts, we dont remember the name of the bakery but, this little german woman made this washington cake like described here and it was absolutely awesome. For years we been trying to find a cake this taste like it , but , we never could , and the bakery just suddenly closed up , I sure wish we could get that recipe!