½ cup molasses
½ cup butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon, optional
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups raisins
Prepare your steamer by greasing it well and lightly dusting with flour. You will need a 7 cup or larger steamer for this pudding. I sometimes use a heat-proof Pyrex bowl covered tightly in plastic wrap with an outside layer of aluminum foil. I’ve also used a bundt pan many times as a steamer. The only caution there is to make sure the hole in the center is completely plugged or the pudding will get wet. A wine cork of the right size, or some balled-up plastic wrap stuffed in the hole will work well for this purpose. Again, the top should be covered tightly with plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil before placing it into the boiling water. The pot that you place your steamer in should be about 1½ times the size of the steamer and should have a metal trivet on the bottom. Do not let your pudding steamer touch the bottom of the pot. An old stoneware tea plate can make an adequate trivet if necessary. Bring about 2 inches of water to a slow simmer in the pot to get it ready.
Cream the molasses and butter well then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. In a separate small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon (if you are using it).
Fold the dry ingredients alternately with the milk into the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. As a general rule, I add the dry ingredients in 3 equal portions and the milk in 2 equal portions.
When the last of the dry ingredients is almost incorporated fold in the raisins as well.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared steamer. Add the cover to the steamer (or a layer each of plastic wrap, then aluminum foil to stop water seeping in.)
Place the steamer on the trivet at the bottom of the boiling water and place the lid on the pot.
Steam the pudding for 2 hours. Test it to see if a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the pudding rest in the steamer, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate.
You can substitute blueberries or partridgeberries in this recipe for the raisins. Dried or small fresh cranberries also work well, as do currents or even mixed dried fruit if you prefer.