Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake Recipe

An old-fashioned blueberry cake sweetened with molasses adapted from a reader submitted recipe to the July 1974 issue of Gourmet Magazine - rustic, dark as chocolate, tender, and punctuated with lots of tiny pockets of oozy, magenta berry flesh.

Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake

This inspiration for today's recipe came from a July 1974 issue of Gourmet Magazine. I sometimes come across vintage piles of Gourmet at yard sales, or on eBay, and can't help but buy them. This particular issue featured a lake-side picnic setting on the cover and originally cost seventy-five cents. On page two there was an old-fashioned blueberry cake recipe submitted by reader Patricia Michaelson that caught my attention. It was a simple cake sweetened with blueberries and molasses. That's it. Many cakes use a cup or two of sugar, so I was intrigued and curious...and a touch skeptical. And butter? Not much at all - also peculiar. The resulting cake was rustic, dark as chocolate, tender, punctuated with lots of tiny pockets of oozy berry flesh, and flavored with a dramatic molasses undercurrent.

blueberry cake recipe

I made a few changes to the original recipe, and rewrote it from the ground up for you. It is important to use the right type of molasses - unsulphered, preferably organic. I'll link to the brand I buy most often here, and in the ingredient list. If you aren't sure, taste your molasses - it should taste good. Strong but good. And while we're on the topic, it should be said, if you aren't a fan of molasses, this cake isn't for you. The molasses and blueberry flavors melded together beautifully in a not-too-sweet, sophisticated way - but I quite like molasses. On the berry front, use the sweetest berries you can get your hands on. If you come across great berries, stock up. A lot of times I'll buy fresh berries, set aside some to eat, and then freeze the rest (to use in a cake list this). And one last note - although I dusted the top of the cake this time with powdered sugar, I think the way to go next time is with a big dollop of sweetened freshly whipped cream (or both!).

Thank you Patricia Michaelson of Scituate, Massachusetts. We very much enjoyed your cake, and I look forward to making it again soon.

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Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake Recipe

For those of you who want to use a whole grain flour here, I think I'd start by trying a 50/50 blend - half whole wheat pastry flour, half unbleached all-purpose flour. If you have a very fine, powdery soft whole wheat pastry flour, you might be able to get away with using it for 100% of the flour, but some of the whole wheat pastry flour has ragged, rustic texture that might be a problem here.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
5 tablespoons milk (divided)
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, barely melted

1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen (I freeze fresh berries)
1 teaspoon flour

Serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar (optional), or a big dollop of sweetened freshly whipped cream

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan (or equivalent).

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk together the cider vinegar with 3 tablespoons of the milk. In another bowl whisk the molasses with the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk the cider vinegar mixture into the molasses mixture, then whisk in the eggs.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just barely combined. Stir in the butter. Toss the blueberries with 1 teaspoon of flour and fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about thirty minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve sprinkled with powdered sugar, or with a dollop of whipped cream on the side. We just enjoyed this cake served straight out of the pan, but you can turn it out if you like.

Serves 8 - 10.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I made this last week and was looking forward to having it for desert. However, I could not get the cake to set in the middle. It stayed gooey as if it was never in the oven. I went over the recipe to see if I missed anything and I did not. Any ideas?
HS: Hmm. That doesn’t sound right. You might want to check on your oven temp? To make sure it is running hot enough. I think I’d start there.


I cut it in half, used all white WW flour (King Arthur) and didn’t have cider vinegar, so ended up using an old, syrupy balsamic instead. Not sure what this might have done to the flavor. If sour is the goal, maybe plain yogurt would be a good sub for the milk/vinegar mixture.
Oh, and I put it in a cupcake/muffin tin and baked for 20 minutes. It came out fine — very moist from the fruit, not too sweet, so it was good to serve as muffins instead of a dessert. I would definitely serve with whipped cream if I did this again, and I’m excited to try it with fall fruit (apples, pears?) and pumpkin pie spices later.

Slapdash Cook

Oh my god. This is the best recipe in the world. I made it with some fresh whipped cream…. so good.. thank you!


Made this cake and d’oh! Put in an extra egg. So I wound up doubling the batter to fix it. Still came out good, spread between two cake pans, but are all the blueberries supposed to fall to the bottom? I was careful to evenly distribute the batter in the two cake pans. But what I got was a nice molasses cake with a layer of blueberry goodness at the bottom – not throughout the cake . . . I thought that looked wrong? Anyone have this result, or is it supposed to be like that?


Just made this cake today, subbed in Swedish “Dark Syrup” – kinda of a beet based baking syrup, you can get it at Ikea, because I realized the molasses I had was blackstrap, and it didn’t mix in well at all. And it was fantastic! A big hit at the party.


Well the cake I made was a complete flop but made additional humor for our dinner party.
It was my husband and my Mom and Dad, and did they all give me the business.
I followed the recipe as written. Tested the cake in four different places for doneness. Let cool while we had dinner.
What a disaster. But what fun! And of course it was delicious. Just not pretty!


What a great recipe for a unique cake! I made it today and just love it (might eat the whole thing before hubby comes home!)
I did do a few substitutions based on what was in my pantry:
Egg Replacer (powder form) instead of eggs 100% whole wheat flour that is used to make the Indian flatbread Roti. It is stone ground and extremely fine and feels and looks like a hybrid (white and whole wheat) but it isn’t.
I also used fresh blueberries because they were kinda on their last leg in my fridge…
The cake turned out extremely moist and it’s delicious! Thanks for sharing!


My two cents — made this over the long weekend — and thought it to be a perfectly delicious and understated everyday cake, simple & classy, like a well-tailored much-loved navy blue suit. The one drawback to eating it came with leaving it on the counter to consume over the course of the week — the fruit inevitably spoiled after a few days.
I like the above comment suggesting the recipe’s greatness in muffin form. Will enjoy trying that sometime this fall.


Very interesting recipe: did add some sweet pudding spices as someone suggested as I felt in keeping with gingerbread in UK.Found it became moister with keeping (as did traditional gingerbreads and yorkshire parkins)..the blueberries then having doing their moistening bit.My mother had a wartime no- egg date loaf cake recipe with similar economy..a family favourite still.(This uses black treacle.)
Love your site, thank you.


Okay, I made it exactly as written, and it was FANTASTIC. Next time, I’m subbing peaches and adding ginger, and I think it may just be the recipe that wins my husband over to peaches.
Thanks for the recipe! Hope you have a blast in Paris, and that the African bracelet men don’t get you! 🙂


I made this cake using all WW pastry flour. The molasses did overpower the blueberries a bit, but we all loved it with fresh whipped cream. Next time, I might sub another sweetener for half the molasses. The kids gobbled it up and asked for more!


I made this cake yesterday…wonderful! I used 1/2 AP flour and 1/2 stone ground Whole Wheat. Lightly sweetened and very dense a little goes a long way. Whipped cream is a purrrfect topping for this. The cake cooks very dark, don’t worry it’s great.
Thank you Heidi


I tried this and wanted to cry. Hormones partially responsible but the cake not working out played a major role. I know better than to make a new recipe for a social event but somehow this rule failed to come to light in time.
The bottom was so wet from blueberries the cake fell apart when i tried to remove from my only cake pans (walmart-style metal cake pans w/out slider arm). Had to use 8-in b/c they were the only ones available to me. Cooked it 15 minutes longer to try and dry it out a bit but still too wet.
Everyone tried to tell me it was good, but i really dont think this turned out the way it was supposed to turn out.


Made the cake but threw it away. Wanted to like it but the molasses was overpowering (in my opinion) and could not taste the blueberries at all. It was moist, but that wasn’t enough to save it. Sorry.


Wow Sweet! im so going to try this
i’ll ask my maid to give me b in b and serve some blueb cake and a hot latte
mmm… i can just imagine (:
thanks for the recipe!

MissyVoltera.x. im a secret(;

My rule is: never make the same thing twice. Too many recipes, too little time. But after tasting this cake tonight I’m breaking my rule. It’s delicious!.
I did use 1/2 unbleached white and 1/2 whole grain pastry flour. It worked beautifully; and I found it to be good without the powdered sugar and cream topping — but I may add a dollop of yogurt, cottage or ricotta cheese mixed with a little minced fresh herb [dill?] when I have another slice for breakfast.


I made this today….and it’s SOOOO good! My only changes were that I used regular bleached flour and the berries were the frozen bagged kind. I also got a bit confused with the directions “stir until just barely combined” followed by “stir in the butter”. Was I supposed to stir in the butter until it too was just barely combined? So I opted for stirring it all until well blended.
And I did top with freshly whipped cream.
This is definitely one to be repeated again and again. 🙂


What a great looking recipe. I thought it looked like chocolate cake as well. Great new way to use all the blueberries we’ve been buying lately.


looks delicious, Iwill try this one soon! karen


wow that delicious blueberry cake, i must try it.
thanks. can i combined with other berry?
HS: Sure!

strawberry dessert

I made the baked doughnuts recipe and since it was so long ago that the recipe went up- i was unable to comment but I just wanted to say that I think I over-worked the dough by letting it sit overnight, but they turned out wonderful! the simple cinnamon sugar dusting was a perfect ending. I also made this recipe and the blueberry cake has been a hit twice now. I also agree that comments by people who had made the dishes are much more helpful when posted- it’s great to read people’s personal tistws on recipes


I just finished my second slice and it was amazing. Just sweet enough! I will absolutely be making this again.


This was absolutely fantastic! I’ve given the recipe to many of my friends and my mom, have made it for some of them, and am going to make it for the third time this weekend. Really. It’s wonderful!


Just finished eating a warm piece of blueberry cake.
(As are all of your recipes.)
Thinking about baking the cake using ground flax to replace the eggs and soy milk or rice milk instead of regular milk. I’m curious to create a vegan version.
Also, I used whole wheat pastry flour and earth balance margarine instead of butter and it turned out quite well – not too thick. Just the right amount of sponginess.


I have tried many blueberry recipes, but this was the best. It was not dry or thick tasting like aplaine popcorn cake. Measurements were bvery accurate and the directions were easy to follow. I will serve this at Thanksgiving.


I made this the other day and it turned out amazing! Very subtle sweetness and the molasses gave it a mellow smokey taste. I’m going to post this on my blog with a photo attached. Kudos Heidi!!


I made this the other day and it turned out amazing! Very subtle sweetness and the molasses gave it a mellow smokey taste. I’m going to post this on my blog with a photo attached. Kudos Heidi!!


I substituted buttermilk for the vinegar and milk…it turned out great! I will definitely be making this again and again.


I made this to take with me to a Hollywood Bowl picnic tonight. So unusual and delicious. Bonus – it goes great with a glass of red wine!


Looks yummy! I would also love a dessert recipe for blackberries! It’s boom time in Marin 🙂


Sounds like blueberry gingerbread — without the gingerbread spices, of course. I wonder what it smells like while baking. I’m a fan of molasses, and I can imagine it not needing much butter because of the moisture from the molasses, but is it really sweet enough? Guess I’ll have to give it a try!


I wonder how this would be with egg replacer and soy milk. Has anyone tried a vegan version?


Wow this looks great and being a blueberry junkie I have to ask- Why the hell have I not had this before-LOL
I dont bake much but I think I will start-


This cake sounded so good, and I happened to have some fresh local blueberries on hand, so baked it up for dessert today. It was superb, moist, not too sweet or heavy, and perfect with lightly sweetened cream. Thanks Heidi, another winner!


Lovely and amazing! This is wonderful, simple and complex at the same time. A truly delicious and unusual flavor. yum.
I blended some creme fraiche with a little mascarpone and coarse brown sugar as a dollop of topping and it was very tasty. Paired with a sniff of cognac…oh yeah.


wow! i got lucky and found your link from those little text google ads in my gmail.
I’m so happy i randomly clicked on it!
this cake looks delicious and perfect for autumn! i must try!


I made this cake last night, and it’s fantastic! Mine was a bit lighter in color as I used regular dark molasses rather than blackstrap, but it was delicious nevertheless. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Jennifer C.

This is an absolutely brilliant cake. I adore anything with a lot of molasses so had to make this immediately. I ate it warm out of the oven and debated over the ingredients to decide if it was acceptable to eat the whole entire thing.


I made the cake last night but substituted fresh blackberries. The flavor was great but they were a little seedy. I think the flavor of the molasses would go really well with dates – I might experiment with that over the winter, maybe soaked in something so they don’t dry out.
The cake went really well with a sweet dessert wine – moscat or rivesault.


I made this last night – my brother and I loved it, Mom didn’t care for the molasses. I’m going to try it again using honey to see if she’s happier, but I found it delightful. We served it warm with whipped cream, and because the blueberries started out frozen they retained their shape and “exploded” in the mouth.


Looks absolutely delicious! The colour made me wonder how it would taste with a layer of melted chocolate on top. Maybe even a sprinkling of hundreds & thousands


Looks like another great recipe. I wanted to suggest cane syrup to any of your readers who want an alternative to molasses. It is also made from sugar cane, but is lighter and less bitter. I grew up with Steen’s (http://www.steensyrup.com/) but there are others on the market.


Is there a way to double the blueberries? I’d love for it to be really really blueberry-ey?


this cake looks terrific – I can’t wait to try it. I’m having a bit more trouble digesting the fact that something that was published well within my lifetime is considered to be “vintage,” however! yeeeks.


Old-fashioned Blueberry Cake recipes are hard to come by if you’re looking for the real taste of yesterday. There’re so many mass produced cakes these days but none of them tastes like the real McCoy.
Thank you for this detailed recipe!
You’ve got a fine selection of recipes on your blog, Heidi. Kudos to you, my friend!

terence yap singapore

Hi Heidi, I actually made this cake, or at least tell myself that I did. I followed your directions except I used all WW pastry flour. And honey instead of molasses. And peaches instead of blueberries.
So actually I made some other cake that was incredibly fabulous. The honey made it super light and very sweet (though not as sweet as a more traditional blend sugar-and-butter cake). I tried to strain out a lot of the excess liquid from the peaches but still had to bake it an extra 10 minutes. It was still divine. The pieces of peach dotted the cake and really shone in the cake which was definitely darker than a more traditional cake is. (And not because of the extra baking time)
Oh, and I used rice wine vinegar cause that’s what I had around the house 😉


Beautiful. Love your blog, love your writing and recipes. I am a fellow photographer and cook, and love looking to your blog for inspiration.


could you use almond flour in this or would that just be too confusing?


I made it with half ww pastry flour and half unbleached APF and served with lightly sweetened whipped cream. I think I’ve found my new favorite cake!


I made this using blackstrap molasses and it was inedibly salty. 🙁 In the trash it went. I guess that’s why you said to use unsulphered?


I couldn’t help but try this one last night. Tasty and super moist, but quite salty in my opinion. I would cut the salt down to 1/4 tsp. Thanks for another interesting recipe, Heidi!


Regarding molasses alternatives:
Molasses is the byproduct of refining sugar– another name for dark cane syrup (or dark treacle). Sulphured molasses comes from immature canes that need a preservative to prevent fermentation. The variations in color and flavor come from how long the cane was boiled and whether the syrup was rendered from the first, second, or third boil. Light syrup comes from the first and blackstrap comes from the third, where each boil produces more caramelization and bitterness. Individual brands may set different lengths for each boil so they won’t all taste exactly the same.
Personally, I grew up using sorghum in place of molasses in recipes because I came from an area that grew millet… they taste a little different but they’re easily interchangeable.
Like Heidi says, just taste your product and decide if it’s a flavor you like before you dump a bunch in a cake batter.


hi Heidi, I really love your recipes but don’t usually comment – but I have a burning question. You wrote:
“In a small bowl whisk together the cider vinegar with 3 tablespoons of the milk. In another bowl whisk the molasses with the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk the cider vinegar mixture into the molasses mixture”
Why is it necessary to split up the milk-mixing like this??


I’m so happy so many of you gave this a try (and liked it!)….I’m getting ready for a trip, so my apologies for not being as responsive as I should be in the comments. I appreciate those of you have been jumping in.
G-dog, I did have to laugh at your whipped cream “confession” – I’m sure nobody minded, and I’m glad you were able to win over the skeptics.


Just finished tasting the first piece of this cake warm from the oven — delicious, very simple and honest. I went with the icing sugar, though whipped cream (or something really decadent like clotted cream or hard sauce) would be better. I’ll be adding this recipe to my permanent roster — it was dead easy to make and, I imagine, to adapt, by changing the fruit and/or adding ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves — and why not a little cocoa?
For those who are worried that people won’t ‘get’ this cake — it’s more Betty than Veronica, but in a world of extravagance the humble has its own appeal, especially when it’s warm from the oven…. Thanks for this recipe!


thank you so much for this recipe! made it the other night, and enjoyed it with whipped cream. had never thought to combine blueberries with molasses – such a very New England concept of dessert (makes sense, since the cook is from Scituate, right down the road from me). even the boys enjoyed it!


This cake was delicious!!! I used soymilk and smart balance instead and it was great! a not-too-sweet delicious breakfasty cake! I also added a little cinnamon with the powdered sugar on top! Thank you! your website is fabulous!


Delicious ! Really decadent I love the taste and my friend loved it … so Delicious…..
Have a Wonderful Day ~


Ps. I used soy milk instead of milk.


I made this cake today and it is wonderful! However, I veganized the recipe. I used 2 1/2 T organic olive oil instead of butter and 2 T ground flax seed mixed with 6 T water as a replacement for the eggs. Isa Chandra Moskowitz lists a variety of ways to replace eggs in her book Vegan with a Vengeance. The cake goes well with Purely Decadent Vanilla dairy free “ice cream.” By the way, it is annoying to scroll through so many comments on this site by people who have not tried the recipes. Great cake though! Thank you Heidi!


I found your website by accident on Saturday, a rainy day, and spent the rest of the afternoon in heaven. I am so glad I found you!
I made this cake on Sunday, and it came out perfect. Moist, sweet (but not too sweet!), and perfect without any topping at all except a dollop of whipped cream.
I love the “autumn” flavor of molasses, and this will definitely be at the top my favorite fall recipes. Thank you for sharing it.
BTW, your site is also visually beautiful–clean, crisp, concise, easy-to navigate, uncluttered and full of wonderful and sensible ways to cook and eat in a more healthy way that doesn’t require an excessive (or expensive) lifestyle change. I’m looking forward to cooking with you again soon!


Made this for the neighborhood picnic yesterday, using wheat flour for about 1/4 of the total. Big hit, even among skeptics. Barbarically, I used canned light whipping cream, but no one seemed to mind. Thanks for this.


I made this cake Saturday, we had it for dessert that night and with some yogurt for breakfast. I did make a couple adjustments. I was taught to rarely use more than 1/4 tsp of b. soda or 1 tsp of b. powder per c of flour, so I omitted the b. powder. Also, I used almost entirely white whole wheat flour. The cake was lovely. Thanks for the great recipe. Next time I’m going to try it with rhubarb or apples, and I think I’ll add the ginger suggested by Janis!


Wow the recipes are great aspecilly the blueberry cake, it is siply delishis and so easy to make.


When I saw the picture of the cake, I thought there was a mistake. It looked like chocolate cake, not blueberry cake.
I’d like to find the right crowd to prepare this for. At first, I thought it would be good for a potluck, but I’m afraid it would shock too many people, and they wouldn’t get it.
I think I’ll make it and have a special “tasting” with some friends I know enjoy food and unique recipes.


@ Chocky – I get my cider vinegar at my local IGA supermarket. They have it in the “health” section and also in with the rest of the vinegars. I usually buy Spiral Foods brand cider vinegar.


Do you think honey would work? I can’t find organic molasses around here. Honey might make it too sweet, though. Thoughts, Heidi?

Lauren B

This looks great – but I’ve never seen cider vinegar in Australia. Is there anything I could use as a substitute?


This was wonderful. I didn’t have frozen berries, so I used fresh and they were fine. Also, I happened to have some buttermilk on hand and since I know that vinegar ‘turns’ regular milk into buttermilk I used the buttermilk instead of the milk with the cider vinegar. As I said, it was delicious. Thank you so much, Heidi. Your recipes are very, very popular at our house!


Would blackstrap molasses be totally over-powering in this cake?


I picked up fresh blueberries at the farm market yesterday and saw this recipe when I got home! I thought I had all the ingredients, but ran out of molasses so substituted honey for about half of it. I didn’t want to wait to freeze the berries, so used them fresh. This was delicious!


I almost didn’t comment because I didn’t want to ruin the fact that there were 101 comments (how perfect) but I must ask- what does the cider vinegar do?


Have been following your recipes & blogs for about 6 months and this one required a comment. Easy, all ingredients readily available, super moist and that extra amount of sweetness w/blueberries fantastic. Next time will try a small amount of ginger nibs for xtra crunch and spice. My husband is very happy I found this website and the Super Natural Cooklbook. Thanks so much!


This cake looks beautiful. I can’t wait to make it! Thanks Heidi.


Heidi, this was absolutely fabulous. I’m having to be very careful that I don’t just sit down with the pie plate and a fork and eat the whole thing! I’d rather have this than pretty much any other type of cake I’ve ever tasted, I think. Thank you!


Oh my…..so nice nice nice blog & lovely pic’s!
Agneta from Sweden


Okay…this I am making!!!!!


I am so glad I have found your blog! My husband and I moved to Japan a few weeks ago so I will try my best to find ingredients, or incorporate what we have here, but at least reading your recipes makes me think of home. Thank you for a beautiful blog!
HS: What an adventure Lindsey – have a great time in Japan. I can’t wait to go back there.


Amazing recipe. Cakey cakeyness + blueberries could only be a recipe for sweet success.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

Well, I’m eating this straight out of the oven right now, and I think it’s fantastic. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!! I used some old frozen blueberries in the freezer (I was too impatient to freeze some fresh ones) and it’s still great – with really good blueberries, I’m sure it’d be even better.
Other details:
I made this vegan by using egg replacer, soymilk, and Smart Balance vegan margarine. In addition, I used slightly less than a half cup of molasses (I used agave for the remainder of the half cup), though if I made it again, I think I might just do molasses. I was worried because my molasses is really strong, but it doesn’t overpower the cake at all. I’ll try it with whole wheat pastry flour, which is my standard baking flour, next time.
Thanks again!


I will have to give this recipe a try. Thanks for the great blog.

Brian Robertson

Heidi, I made this cake and it turned out great! BUT, the only prob was that the color came out totally diff than yours. My cake was much lighter, light brown rather than the dark brown yours had. Do you know why? Thanks!
HS: Hi Jennifer, what brand of molasses did you use? I suspect that might be the variable – but I’m glad it turned out, and you liked it regardless.


Have you considered opening a restaurant?
Just wondering….
HS: It’s funny, I get asked that question quite a lot! No plans for that sort of thing anytime soon.


YUM!! I’ve got all the ingredients…might even try to make it tonight!!


I just made the chocolate zucchini muffin recipe (I have two very large zucchs from the garden I need to use!) posted in 2005. They’re incredible! So chocolatey, and not too sweet. Delicious and creative. Thank you!


I loved the tender taste and fine texture . It taste even better than it looks in the picture. I highly recommend it. I followed every step given in the receipe with the exception of fresh blueberries and I suspect that may have made it more moist . Cheers!


Of all the berries, blueberries are my least favorite; however this recipe looks good. I wonder if other berries (raspberries, blackberries, etc.) or other fruits (say preserved peaches or pears, or even frozen strawberries) could be used.


my boyfriend always makes this! It’s a traditional recipe for his family. I LOVE it, but he also serves it with a really simple vanilla sauce/syrup thing that makes it EVEN BETTER if that’s possible.


This looks interesting! Is something that you could serve for breakfast or a brunch. I like that fact that it doesn’t seem too sweet.


just made these this morning w/ 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 unbleached white flour. they are yummy — and i baked them in mini muffin tins for my 2 year old. she liked them.
to the person who mentioned swapping agave for the molasses, i often mix 1/2 agave or maple syrup with molasses as a substitute for brown sugar in quick breads and muffins.


This is destiny: I need to bring a dessert to a potluck tonight. I’ve had such great luck with 101 recipes that I knew I’d come here for tonight’s delicacy.
Gourmet Magazine taught me how to cook (I recently gave away all my old copies). I grew up in beautiful Scituate, Mass and left after graduating in 1975. Didn’t know Patricia though. Can’t wait to try this one.


Hi Heidi
Thanks for another intriguing recipe. I love blueberries and molasses but hadn’t thought to combine them before. I have made the cake twice and the first time I followed the recip religiously. I found the flavour pleasant but somehow lacking (it was all base notes if you know what I mean, and I wanted something more warming and volatile in the aroma). So the next time I added some ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg – just a dash of each – and I found it more balanced. It is winter here now, and cold and damp, so I crave warming spice in my food. I love the fact that this is not a sugary sweet cake. I served it with a lovely organic yoghurt sweetened with a touch of honey – Beautiful!


looks very nice
i will try

sanjeev kumar

hi heidi,
i have been an avid fan of so many of your recipes.. this looks incredible! i am vegan, so i will try to veganize this cake. thanks for the inspiration and great recipes!


I froze blueberries when I got them at a bargain and I am waiting for my next off day to try out this recipe. Thank you very much.


Rustic, not-too-sweet desserts are my favorite!
I also stock up on blueberries and freeze the extras…so I can’t wait to put them to good use.

Michelle @ porktopurslane

I am a sucker for vintage food magazines and cookbooks, too. I pick them up when I can. It looks like you baked this in a vintage pyrex, too. Love those.
I thought I was ahead of the blueberry game this year and froze an obscene amount…I’ve used them all. I can’t help myself when it comes to blueberries.

Amy Green - Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

I am a sucker for vintage food magazines and cookbooks, too. I pick them up when I can. It looks like you baked this in a vintage pyrex, too. Love those.
I thought I was ahead of the blueberry game this year and froze an obscene amount…I’ve used them all. I can’t help myself when it comes to blueberries.

Amy Green - Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

That’s it! I can’t take it anymore. I’m buying the ingredients that I don’t already have on hand and I’m making this fantastic recipe this weekend.
You had me at “blueberry”.
Thank you!

Carlo/Carlo At Your Service Productions

I just made this cake and it was delicious! so rich, the intensity of the molasses with the sweetness of the blueberries is perfect. I usually strongly dislike cake because its often dry and too sugary, but this was not “cakey” at all – super super moist.
next time I might experiment with adding ginger … or maybe some lemon too…
Thank you so much for the recipe!


I have been making this Blueberry Cake from the original Gourmet recipe since July 1974. It is FABULOUS and is always a BIG hit. Try adding ginger to the recipe ~ either candied ginger minced or a tsp. dry powdered – adds additional excitement.

Janis Diner Brinley

wow, this sounds really lovely. can’t wait to try.


It’s blueberry season….how could I not give this one a try. BUT with the Swanson sweet tooth there has to be frosting or at least powdered sugar!.


How perfect! I just walked in the door with a huge bag of fresh blueberries which are at their peak here in British Columbia. Thanks Heidi.


For the person looking for molasses you might look for tins of treacle. I think this is actually moslasses.I seem to remember this along with tins of Tate and Lyle Syrup and I know a neighbour of ours in Ireland used to make soda bread with treacle.


Oh, I am so going to try this next week.


Heidi, I also live halfway around the world from you and the only molasses we have is crude,sold in large drums for animal feed. Is there really no adequate substutution? How about golden syrup? The recipe appeals to me and I would like to try it.


This looks fantastic. I love blueberries. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


What do you think of using Steen’s Cane Syrup instead of molasses?


This looks great and I love molasses. I was wondering if molasses can be used instead of maple syrup in your basic chocolate cake recipe? I am a little worried that sweetening with maple syrup will make everything remind me of pancakes. 😉


I love blueberries! This looks great.

Mexican food

My Mom is Pennsylvania Dutch, and made a Shoofly pie that was rich and sticky with Molasses. Then she made gingerbread houses at Christmas to sell so her ten children could get a little “something something” for Christmas. This recipe looks wonderful, and I really appreciate ingredients like Blueberries that are in season, and low sugar and fat recipes. Thanks Heidi!


Looks delicious! We are in Maine for a few days and just bought a quart of those beautiful, tiny wild Maine blueberries. I will be trying this as soon as I get home as an alternative to my usual sugar and butter laden cake…I love molasses so this version sounds great to me.


Heidi –
This looks awesome! My heart broke a little when I saw there was no chocolate in it (the picture is misleading!) do you think adding a little cocoa powder would taste bad? I have tried chocolate with molasses but its sounds good to me, what do you think?


This is so interesting…I don’t think I would naturally want to pair blueberries and molasses together, but you’ve made it sound, and look, so great. I, too, love hunting for vintage food magazines and some of the recipes are just so good…

Mixing Bowl Mama

I don’t think I’ll ever walk by an old food mag at a yard sale again. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.


I just picked blueberries. I don’t have white flour, but can grind my ww pastry flour on the finer side. Have to try this. Thank you.


It’s fitting that the recipe came from Scituate. It’s a very old town (1627), and both molasses and blueberries are traditional New England baking ingredients.
Patricia Michaelson was a well-known local artist who died in 1990. Here’s a nice snapshot of her from an article in the Boston Globe: “Artist Patricia Michaelson was a quiet, understated woman whose peaceful blue eyes would peer out through large-frame glasses and see brilliant colors that could transform an ordinary landscape, still life or portrait.
Never one to chase fame or fortune, she approached art with her heart. “Art isn’t something I do. It’s something I am. I have no desire to be famous, whatever that means. I’d just like to make art — do wonderful paintings[.]”
I love how recipes connect people across time and geography.
HS: Thanks for this bit of insight Rosalie – she sounds like and amazing person.


Two of my favorite things – blueberries and cake! Can’t wait to try it.
(ad so glad I found this site!)


This sounds enticing! Blueberries & molasses…two long time favorites. My grandfather lived the life of a dairy farmer & custom blended his own mixture of feed for his herd which included molasses…I spent my childhood picking out & eating the bits of molasses whenever I could get away with it.
I’m making this today.



My Food and Life Encounters

Oops, ignore my comment. When I clicked on “read more” it took me to your site. I guess it’s some kind of blog-recipe-gathering ‘bot.

Lucy T.

I sure appreciate you posting this recipe. I love molasses and have a really hard time finding recipes for it’s use. Can’t wait to try it!


I was curious if I could find the original recipe online, and found this link when I was googling.
Is it kosher for it to be here, or have they plagiarized your story? Only because your name doesn’t appear anywhere on it, but it’s your post word for word, and your photo.
HS: Oh, it looks like they are taking my RSS feed – annoying. :/ Thanks for the heads up.

Lucy T.

Heidi – why does it call for frozen blueberries? Can you use fresh? If not, why not?


Well I tried this recipe as it was written and I don’t think it is for me. I didn’t feel there was any sweetness to it at all, molasses I love, but that is all you taste. And it is very strong. I did not get a hint of the blueberries’ taste at all. It was super moist though. If tweaked it could be a version of a gingerbread cake, but as it is, I was very disappointed. Sorry.

Bee Dee

Yay, another dessert recipe without sugar. Thanks, Heidi! I’ll be making this tomorrow.


sounds delicious but nobody mentioned the fact that blueberries are a healthy anti-oxidant. delicious and good for you too.


Blueberries work to make this healthier, but I avoid molasses as a rule.
For the gym conscious among us:
I substituted a mix of partially caramelized splenda and agar for the molasses, and half the amount of flour for whole wheat (no problem at all, though it’s mostly taste preference), and smart balance with flax seed for the butter.
Doing so reduced the calories by half, the sugar by 100g, taste by 0, and even added a good deal of healthy omega-3s. If made with entirely high-protein whole wheat flour, this cake could actually almost qualify as a superfood.


This is my first time posting but I just want to say how much I love your blog! You write with such passion and colorful language and your photos are exquisite.
I want to make this cake but I don’t eat eggs – what can I use as a substitute?


Might this work with dark cherries instead of blueberries? This could be a hit with the rustic cake and leftover fruit…

Chef Andrew

Blueberry+molasses is heaven on earth…Thank you for this recipe!


I use “Grandma’s” unsulphured molasses, which is expensive but has a good flavor. However, when I run across an old fashioned recipe that relies on molasses for sweetening 100%, I find the flavor just too strong, so substitute half of the amount of molasses called for with honey. It makes for a good but not excessively sweet flavor.


picking up the ingredients after work today and making this one over the weekend. sounds so good!


Heidi –
What do you mean by ‘divided’ next to the 5 tbsp of milk? Sorry if this is a stupid question – I’m pretty new at this.
It’s great to see another recipe with molasses. All my friends loved the gingerbread (even I couldn’t screw it up) which you posted a while back.
HS: Hi Sarvamitran, I just mean that you use part of the milk at one point, and then the rest later on. Sorry if that is a bit confusing!


heidi-scituate is where i’ve lived my entire life! the tiny seaside town was incorporated in 1636 and is 25 miles south of boston. its funny to find it your blog and in gourmet from 1974!!!! most people have difficulty pronouncing it. we say sit-chew-it, from the native american satuit meaning cold brook.


2 Questions: 1) Why unsulphered molasses?
2) I often have a problem baking with commercial blueberries – they are overwatered when grown=big, beautiful and tasteless, so baked goods come out a bit soggy and very blue, but with little blueberry taste to them. Any suggestions? Thx!


looks very nice, i will try it.


I have some Huckleberries that would be wonderful in this. They are super sweet berries as the Summer has been so hot and dry in Idaho. Too sweet for pie, perfect in pancakes. I hope they taste as good with molasses as the blueberries.


Would agave nectar work, or no?


what a great recipe–this sounds linke sometig we’ll have to try. I ‘inherited’ a stack of vintage Gourmet mags when a friend’s foodie grandma passed away, she had kept them all those years! They are full of great ideas, and such a trip to another ers, so I’m with you on loving having them!


I’m so interested in this cake! I’ve been told to take blackstrap molasses for health reasons (all the iron and minerals and such) and the recipes I’ve seen using it seem so… blah. But this one sounds divine!
It might be a disaster, but I think I’m going to try it and sub in all-purpose GF flour and see what happens. An adventure for a rainy weekend!


OMG!! that looks so good, I’m off to the store to buy what I need!!!!!


Wow! I was thinking there was cocoa powder or chocolate in it, too. I think I’ll try it with some of the wonderful dark cherries I got at the market this week. They’re really sweet & I think would also work well in this recipe. Yum! My husband will be very happy 🙂


Just wanted to let you know that I made your peanut butter cookies (the ones with olive oil, but I used coconut oil). I used whole wheat pastry flour. THESE cookies are fabulous! They are what I want in a peanut butter cookie–good pb taste, not sugary and lower in fat and better for you. Love them. Just wanted to let you know and that I posted them on my blog with a link to yours!


This looks so good, but I’m confused: the cake looks chocolate, but I don’t see any in the ingredients. Is that just from the molasses?
HS: Hi Nick, that’s just from the molasses – can you believe that?


It’s wild blueberry season here in Newfoundland, and you can’t go outside without finding them, as well as partridge berries (which are called lingon berries elsewhere.)
I already made scones, but this recipe sounds delicious.
It’s very much like the boiled pudding recipes that are traditional here.
They also pair berries and molasses.
Those tend to be served with a heavy on the butter hard whiskey sauce.


I heart your blog!


Sounds like an interesting recipe. I always enjoy looking back at old recipes, although most of the ones that I see are through church cookbooks and downright horrific.
HS: I hear you – If you only knew how many truly inedible vintage recipes I’ve tried….the ones from natural food sources can be particularly bad :/


sounds perfect! one question: are you tossing the blueberries in while froze, or should they be defrosted first? and could you just use fresh? thanks for another lovely recipe, heidi!
HS: Hi Rachel – yes, you stir in them in frozen. It’s certainly not the end of the world if you stir them in fresh, but I think they tend not to overcook if you start w/ frozen – it’s certainly not the end of the world if you put them in there fresh though. 😉


Barb – I have sifted WW pastry flour before to get a more uniform, lighter texture, and it takes some time, but it works. Also, the product Whole Foods sells in their bulk section tends to be very fine and powdery.
Too bad we’re pretty well done with blueberry season in Philly. This looks really nice, and easy to veganize.


mmm wanna try it…


I love the idea of finding old Gourmet magazines at flea markets – I may have to go out on a hunt today! Nothing screams August like blueberry cake – thanks!

Sarah-Two Blue Lemons

Where I live–half way across the world from you–I had never seen molasses in supermarkets. (Though we have agave nectar, maple syrup and honey.) Can you recommend anything that could be used instead of molasses in this recipe? Thank you! Su
HS: I think molasses is key for this particular cake unfortunately. There are some amazing honey cakes, and I’ve done a few cakes sweetened with maple syrup (you can poke around the archives), but for this cake – molasses is key.


I am so trying this tonight …


1 1/2 cups of blueberries and molasses, mmmmm boy that sounds good! I don’t use molasses much, except taking blackstrap molasses for iron. I suppose I could bake with it too…but the flavor is intense!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I love less-sweet desserts. I love the taste of the fresh fruit to shine through. Thank you for always sharing recipes rooted in the earth.

The Gardener's Eden

This looks great, Heidi! I adore blackstrap molasses too, and it has so many nutrients.
Any suggestions for converting the flour to gluten-free? I’d prefer whole-grain or non-grain (almond, coconut) flours, if possible. I plan on also making this dairy-free by using a dairy-sub (So Delicious coconut milk, intended for drinking straight). Thanks!
HS: I’m not sure off-hand about doing a GF version, but if any of you experiments with a version that you really like please report back.


Heidi, I cannot wait to make this. I love molasses and am always looking for recipes that feature it but don’t have loads of sugar. Thank you so much for sharing!

Kylie of Thin Crust, Deep Dish

I still have a large bag of blueberries in my freezer and I have been collecting ideas for what to use them in. I may have to give this a try!

The Cooking Bride

Oh, wow. I love molasses-sweetened desserts, they have so much character. Molasses and blueberries are a new combination to me–I can’t wait to try it!

dragonfly pie

I didn’t even know that Gourmet has been around that long! How fun.
I love the fact that this cake it sweetened only with molasses. It looks delicious.

Erica from Cooking for Seven

This reminds me of my grandmother’s blueberry gingerbread – it’s a very old recipe (and one I’m making this weekend! Yum!).


Heidi, this cake looks gorgeous. I’m off to hunt for the ingredients – I definitely want to make this soon!


Very interesting. I like the idea of molasses and blueberries together. I will have to try this!


I love the story behind your discovery of this recipe, and the cake looks delicious. I almost always sub in alternatives (agave nectar, maple syrup, honey etc.) for refined sugar when following recipes, so obviously I’m excited that this cake recipe calls for molasses instead of white sugar. Lovely!


I love the idea of this cake. The next time I get some blueberries I will make it.

George & Culinary Travels

I love the idea of this cake. The next time I get some blueberries I will make it.

George & Culinary Travels

beautiful! a masterpiece…as usual 🙂
sounds like an interesting recipe..so original.


I love it! It makes me remember my grandma’s cake


Lovely Heidi!
Sounds like an interesting flavor combination, I bet it was tasty!
I’ll have to try and adapt it to be gluten-free/dairy-free. Thanks! -Ali 🙂


my ww pastry flour is ragged… can i sift it?
HS: That certainly might help….if you give it a go, and like how it turns out, let us know!


I’m completely intrigued by this recipe! I am a huge fan of molasses but I’ve never paired it with blueberries before.
Any by the way, I used your “How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother” recipe to make gnocchi for the first time the other day, and it was fabulous. Thank you for such a great recipe!


Beautiful! I love very lightly sweetened baked goods. I’ll have to try and adapt this to gluten-free.


Wow – that looks fantastic. Definitely giving it a try this weekend.


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