Dayton’s Plantation Cake

12 servings.

Adapted from the Jan. 31, 1963, edition of the Minneapolis Tribune. This Sky Room classic was a reader favorite and was frequently published in recipe request columns.

For cake:

• 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

• 1 c. brown sugar, packed, plus 1 tbsp.

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 4 c. sifted flour

• 1 1/3 c. water

• 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

• 1 1/3 c. molasses

For topping:

• 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1/2 c. half-and-half


To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter bottom and sides of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and salt, and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add flour slowly and mix until crumbly.

In a medium bowl, combine water and baking soda. Stir in molasses.

Divide crumb mixture in half. Evenly pat half of crumb mixture in the bottom of prepared pan.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, combine molasses mixture with remaining crumb mixture and mix until most of the white pieces are out of the mixture. Pour mixture over the crumbs in the pan. Bake 25 to 35 min., until a cake tester inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.

To prepare topping: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until creamy, about 2 min. Reduce speed to low, add half-and-half and mix until thoroughly combined.

To serve: Cut warm cake into squares. Top with 1 T. of cream cheese topping, and serve with pitcher of Hot Lemon Sauce (see recipe).

Hot Lemon Sauce

Makes about 2 c.

Note: From the Jan. 31, 1963, edition of the Minneapolis Tribune.

• 1 3/4 c. sugar

• 1/4 t. salt

• Scant 1/4 c. cornstarch

• 1/2 c. plus 1 T. water

• 1/4 c. plus 1/2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 2 egg yolks

• 2 1/2 T. butter

• 1 T. freshly grated lemon zest


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Pour a little of the hot mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Return saucepan to heat. Pour yolk mixture back into the pan and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce is thickened and smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and lemon zest. Transfer sauce to a pitcher and serve warm.


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