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Josie’s Famous Molasses Crumb Cake


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup light molasses
  • 1 tbsp baking soda (NOT baking powder)


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Butter a 9″x13″ baking pan. Use a small pat of butter in a paper towel and rub on all surfaces including the corners.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and rub together into the dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender. Alternatively, use the paddle attachment with a stand mixer. Be sure to leave the butter in pea sized pieces. 
  4. Reserve 1 cup of the flour, sugar and butter mixture for the crumb topping.
  5. In another bowl, add the boiling water. Then add the baking soda and molasses and stir until fizzy. 
  6. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the batter unevenly with the reserved crumbs. The cake will pop up through the open spaces to create a nice-looking cake.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick come out clean.
  8. Let cool on a baking rack and serve right from the pan.


P.S. If you’re wondering how this recipe works with just baking soda, the acid in the molasses reacts with the base of the baking soda to create CO₂ to make the cake rise.