These aren't just any muffins - they're oaty, spiced treacle muffins with an incredible cinnamon black treacle frosting!
They're made oats, mixed spice and treacle to give a dense and intensely delicious parkin-like sponge.
They're topped with a cinnamon and black treacle frosting that is so good, you'll be licking the spoon and then going back for more.
Here's how to make them.
For the sponge
- 200g salted butter
- 140g golden syrup
- 140g black treacle (or molasses)
- 90g dark brown sugar
- 275g self-raising flour
- 75g oats
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 medium egg
For the topping
- 500g icing sugar
- 100g cream cheese
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp black treacle (or molasses)
Preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan). Mix the sugar, butter, golden syrup and black treacle in a pan over a medium heat until melted. Set aside to cool.
Place the flour, oats, ginger and mixed spice in a large bowl and mix.
Pour in the cooled syrup mixture and stir.
Add the milk and beaten egg and mix until you have a thick batter.
Pour the mixture into a well-greased 12 hole muffin tray.
Bake for 30 minutes until gently risen and firm on top.
When cool enough to remove from their tin, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
While they cool, make the frosting. In a bowl, whisk the cream cheese, cinnamon, treacle and 300g of the icing sugar together until smooth.
Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again to give a thick frosting.
Use a spoon or piping bag to spread the frosting on top of each muffin, then sprinkle with your chosen topping - I used fudge pieces and a little grated dark chocolate.
Store any leftover cakes in an airtight container and in the fridge to keep them fresh. They're so like parkin-cake, I think that they're PERFECT for bonfire night in the UK. Why not pair them with my chocolate marshmallow fireworks?
Pointers, tricks and troubleshooting tips for the perfect oaty spiced treacle muffins.
Are oaty spiced treacle muffins easy to make?
While the flavours in these muffins may be rich and with plenty of depth, they are as easy to make as any other muffin, so don't be put off if you haven't worked with some of the ingredients before.
Will I need any special equipment for oaty spiced treacle muffins ?
You won't need any special equipment that you wouldn't find outside of a standard kitchen for these treacle muffins.
Where can I buy black treacle? Where can I buy golden syrup?
Black treacle is available in all major supermarkets and many smaller shops in the UK. Outside of the UK you may have difficulty finding it, in which case you can use molasses, which is very similar in taste and texture.
Golden syrup (also called light treacle) is more widely available than black treacle, so you should be able to find it in larger food shops throughout much of the world. If you can't find it then I would try a specialist baking shop or online.
How can I tell if golden syrup or black treacle has gone off?
Both golden syrup and black treacle have an exceptionally high sugar content, which means that bacteria have a very difficult time growing in it. For this reason the ‘best before’ date on the tin (which is a very different thing from a ‘use by’ date on some other products, and should always be adhered to) can be ignored.
Golden syrup and black treacle should be safe to eat for a long time, even if a little crystallisation has occurred. However, it is still possible for mould to potentially grow on either, so if it looks or tastes peculiar it's best thrown away.
Is it safe to eat golden syrup that has crystallized? Is it safe to eat black treacle that has crystallized?
The short answer is yes, crystallization naturally occurs in the sugars over long periods.
If you are using the syrup or treacle in a dish that will be heated up you can use it as you normally would, as the crystals will be dissolved once heated.
If you are worried that the crystals may impact the texture of your dish (as could be the case with the black treacle in the cream cheese icing) you can gently heat the treacle and cool it down before using it, which will cause the crystals to dissolve. Be sure to leave time for the syrup to cool down before using.
If you are heating all of your syrup to dissolve crystals rather than just what you need for a bake then make sure to heat it until you are sure all the sugar crystals have dissolved. This is because crystals will begin to form again around any tiny seed crystals left undissolved. Even the spoon you are stirring it with can be a source for crystallisation to occur, so if possible heat it low and slow over the hob and don't stir the syrup, and try to put it back in a clean a tin as possible.
Are oaty spiced treacle muffins suitable for vegetarians?
These muffins are totally vegetarian and totally delicious.
Are oaty spiced treacle muffins suitable for vegans?
These muffins are not vegan by default as they contain butter, milk and egg in the sponge and the topping contains cream cheese.
However, you could make these vegan by replacing the butter and milk in the recipe with a plant-based alternative. For the egg needed you can substitute it for one of these alternatives (each = 1 egg, so multiply as needed for any given recipe). My personal preference for muffins is crushed chia seeds, but all of these suggestions can work:
- 1 tablespoon of crushed chia seeds or flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes in the fridge.
- 3 tablespoons of aquafaba (the water you get in a tin of chickpeas).
- 3 tablespoons of applesauce (bear in mind this will add sweetness).
For the topping you can replace the cream cheese with vegan cream cheese if you can find it. It’s available in most major supermarkets in the UK and can be used instead of its dairy equivalent.
If you can't find any vegan cream cheese you can also make a buttercream frosting instead by using vegan butter/margarine. If possible, get a vegan spread with a low moisture content and high fat content as this will make creaming the sugar with the butter work better. For the 500g of icing sugar used in this recipe use 220g of vegan butter. First whisk the butter from the fridge in a stand mixer or using a hand blender until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar - around 50g at a time - while whisking. After the vegan butter and sugar are combined add the cinnamon and black treacle, then whisk again.
Are oaty spiced treacle muffins gluten-free?
These spiced muffins are not gluten-free due to the self-raising flour used, however, you could easily swap this out for a gluten-free self-raising flour.
While everything else in this recipe should be gluten-free you should still check all your ingredients, as some manufacturers will add gluten-containing ingredients, or will not be able to guarantee that cross contamination with gluten-containing products has not occurred during manufacture.
Are oaty spiced treacle muffins healthy?
While very tasty these muffins contain a relatively high amount of calories from the fats and sugars which means they are better as a treat than a daily snack.
Are oaty spiced treacle muffins safe to eat while pregnant?
There is nothing in this recipe that would usually pose a risk to pregnant people, as long as all the ingredients are in good condition, the muffins have been prepared hygienically and the dairy is pasteurised. The NHS explains why here.
The eggs in this recipe are fully cooked, but egg advice for pregnant and breastfeeding people can vary in different countries, so please check information local to you.
If you have any questions or concerns please speak to a health professional. A Mummy Too does not give medical advice.
What goes well with oaty spiced treacle muffins ?
While a cup of tea or coffee is always a welcome addition, I find a smoothie can work really well with the spice in the muffins, so you could give one of these delicious smoothies a try.
I haven’t got black treacle, can I use molasses?
The short answer is yes, you can substitute molasses for black treacle, although their tastes are not identical they are very similar.
Both are a by-product of the sugar refining process, but molasses usually has a darker appearance with a stronger taste than black treacle.
How should I store oaty spiced treacle muffins ?
These muffins are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container where they will last for up to three days. Make sure to take them out 15 minutes before eating to allow them to come up to room temperature.
If taking them out of a very cold fridge (of if they will be in a very humid environment) pop them into another airtight container while they warm back up to avoid moisture in the air forming condensation on the outside.
How long does oaty spiced treacle muffins keep?
If stored correctly and in the fridge they will last for up to 3 days.
Can I leave oaty spiced treacle muffins out on the counter?
As these muffins contain cream cheese, a dairy product, they should always be stored in the fridge and shouldn't be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (which includes the time it took you to make them).
While the high sugar content of five parts sugar to every one part cream cheese will certainly help to stop bacteria from growing as rapidly as it would in cream cheese alone, it is still best to be safe and store them in the fridge.
Can I make oaty spiced treacle muffins ahead?
You can absolutely make these spiced muffins up to a day ahead, just remember to store them in the refrigerator. Take them out 15 minutes or so before serving to give them a chance to come back up to room temperature.
Another option would be to bake the muffins, but not decorate them until just before serving. This means you can store the muffins more easily, without fear of damaging the delicate frosting, and that they can also be kept in an airtight container at room temperature (as they do not have any dairy from the frosting on them yet).
The frosting can be stored separately in the refrigerator, in a sealed piping bag (you can use a sealing clip on the top and bottom), ready to decorate the muffins when needed. Remember to take the piping bag out of the fridge around 20 minutes before decorating so it has a chance to come up to room temperature. You can also squish and squeeze the bag a little first to loosen the frosting and make it easier to pipe.
Can I freeze oaty spiced treacle muffins?
I would advise against freezing these muffins as they are frosted with cream cheese icing, which can split when defrosting. Having said that I suspect the high sugar content in this frosting will help to stop that from being such an issue. If you are feeling adventurous and decide to try freezing these muffins let me know in the comments how they turn out.
Another option would be to freeze the muffins separately from the frosting, and then defrost and decorate. This will work as frozen frosting that has separated can be whipped again which will recombine everything.
Can I make oaty spiced treacle muffins in a different quantity?
You can make these spiced muffins in any quantity you wish using the slider found in the recipe card near the bottom of the page, although I would recommend doubling the recipe amount if making more, as that way you can use another whole egg rather than just part of an egg.
Can I make oaty spiced treacle muffins in a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid or Kenwood Mixer?
Both the batter and the frosting are pretty quick to mix up by hand, but a stand mixer or electric whisk will make your life easier. I would use either the flat whisk or beater attachment.
How can I make sure oaty spiced treacle muffins is perfectly cooked?
A quick peek at the muffins should give you a good idea as to whether they are cooked though. They will go into the oven rather wet and glossy and come out with a little rise to them, a cracked surface and a slightly lighter colour.
You can also use a clean fork or or flat knife and push it into the centre of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean then the muffins are ready, if anything is sticking to the muffins then they need a little longer.
Why did my oaty spiced treacle muffins turn out burned or overcooked?
They most likely culprit for burnt or dry muffins is that they have simply been in the oven for too long, so double check your oven temperature is correct. If possible also calibrate your oven with an oven thermometer, as home ovens can be colder or hotter than the dial says by up to 10C .
Why did my oaty spiced treacle muffins turn out wet, soft or undercooked?
This is likely because you didn't have the oven hot enough, or that your ingredient quantities are incorrect and too much liquid was used, so check both of these first then try giving them an extra few minutes in the oven to see if they firm up.
If you find that the outside of your muffin is cooking before the insides have had a chance to cook this is almost certainly a case of your oven being too hot.
Why didn’t my oaty spiced treacle muffins rise?
While the self-raising flour and egg in the batter will certainly give the muffins a nice, soft crumb don't expect these muffins to rise too much - have a look at the photographs to get an idea.
If your muffins haven't risen very much at all it may be because your self-raising flour is past its ‘use by’ date. This is because the baking powder it contains will lose its effectiveness over time.
Lastly, it could be that the batter has been overworked, which will have released some of the air bubbles that were created when the wet ingredients came into contact with the self-raising flour.
How can I add/change the flavours in these oaty spiced treacle muffins ?
For the batter itself you could introduce a little extra something such as dried fruit (apricots would be very tasty with these spices), crushed or chopped nuts, or swap the powdered ginger out for crystallised ginger. You could also play with the spices used too. I find mixed spice naturally gives a well rounded flavour, but if you want to really accentuate a particular spice you could add more of it, or make up your own mixed spice recipe.
For the frosting you can either switch the cinnamon out for another spice, or halve the cinnamon and add a complimentary spice such as ginger, anise or cardamom.
For the finishing touches I’ve used fudge pieces and a little grated chocolate, but chopped nuts (walnut or pecan work well) is a great alternative. I find candied ginger also compliments the spices too.
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Oaty spiced treacle muffins with cinnamon black treacle frosting
For the sponge
- 200 g (7.1 oz) salted butter
- 140 g (4.9 oz) golden syrup
- 140 g (4.9 oz) black treacle or molasses
- 90 g (3.2 oz) dark brown sugar
- 275 g (9.7 oz) self-raising flour
- 75 g (2.6 oz) oats
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 medium egg
For the topping
- 500 g (1.1 lb) icing sugar
- 100 g (3.5 oz) cream cheese
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp black treacle or molasses
- Preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan). Mix the sugar, butter, golden syrup and black treacle in a pan over a medium heat until melted. Set aside to cool.
- Place the flour, oats, ginger and mixed spice in a large bowl and mix.
- Pour in the cooled syrup mixture and stir.
- Add the milk and beaten egg and mix until you have a thick batter.
- Pour the mixture into a well-greased 12 hole muffin tray.
- Bake for 30 minutes until gently risen and firm on top.
- When cool enough to remove from their tin, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- While they cool, make the frosting. In a bowl, whisk the cream cheese, cinnamon, treacle and 300g of the icing sugar together until smooth.
- Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again to give a thick frosting.
- Use a spoon or piping bag to spread the frosting on top of each muffin, then sprinkle with your chosen topping - I used fudge pieces and a little grated dark chocolate.
- Store any leftover cakes in an airtight tin to keep them fresh.
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