Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Best Gingerbread


Because so many recipes over-promise and under-deliver (the Better Than Sex Cake, for one),  it was with some trepidation that I set out to make the gingerbread on a recipe card titled "My Best Gingerbread."

But perhaps hyperbole wasn't as pervasive in the 1940s, when this housewife typed My Best Gingerbread on an index card.  It was her best gingerbread, and now it's my best one too.  My tasters agreed; they were still talking about it -- and looking for more -- days later.

Each gingerbread season I bake several, and I've rarely found one with this level of baking value (roughly the outcome v. the effort).  The only modification I would make is to increase the amount of ginger if you like a more assertive spice kick.


This is a beautiful recipe, with clear instructions and very little guesswork.  I baked it in an 8-inch square pan, which was fine, but a 9-inch round pan would probably yield a better looking gingerbread. It took just a few minutes to put together.  At first the batter is stiff, but becomes very liquid-y once the hot water is added.


One of the joys of gingerbread is that it's a homey kind of cake, typically served without frosting, but I'm sure you won't hear any complaints if you make a lemon glaze (confectioner's sugar and fresh lemon juice) to drizzle on top. Or just slice and enjoy with a cold glass of milk.





18 comments:

  1. It looks really moist. What do you think makes this gingerbread turn out better than others? The water maybe? 1 cup molasses seems like more than typical proportion wise?

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  2. @Margaret: I do think the hot water makes an important contribution. I have a scrapbook page from another collection that has both a hot and cold water gingerbread and though the lady at first says try one of each, near the end of the page she said that the cold water preparation is unsatisfactory. As far as the molasses proportion, I don't know. I'll check some other recipes and get back to you.
    @Anonymous: Yes, 350 degrees. That's what I turn my oven to whenever a temperature isn't specified and it usually seems to work.

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  3. Kinda scared me, popping out the top of my 9 inch round pan, but it stayed in. Fresh ingredients for 2012, can't wait for it to cool ...

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  4. Steve made this, under cooked it a bit in the middle, but even so, it was SOOOOO good. This is definitely a keeper!

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  5. @John: Yes, the fear factor of gingerbread is quite profound! The drama simply adds to the experience. Except when the batter really does escape the pan (which has happened to me, and I called it My Gingerbread Runneth Over and Over. What a mess to clean!!) Hope your gingerbread was delicious.
    @Margaret: Having, like Steve, been victim to a grandmother who overbaked everything, I always think it's best to err on the other side. Glad you liked it. Would go great with some vanilla ice cream, no?

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  6. Yum! This is exactly the gingerbread my mom used to make, only hers just had 1/2 cup of shortening, no butter. I'm sure adding butter would only make it better!

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  7. Anne: Yes, do try it with butter! It does improve the taste of almost everything! Thanks for writing.

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  8. Gingerbread is always better with cream cheese frosting :)

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    1. Yes, cream cheese is an excellent addition and much more decadent than say, a lemon glaze.

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  9. I just found your site and tried your gingerbread recipe. I never was a fan of gingerbread, but since I had all ingredients handy, including molasses, I decided to try it. IT IS FABULOUS! I will be making again and again...

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    1. Anonymous: Don't you love it when things just seem meant to be? Even to the point of having molasses in the pantry? So glad you liked the gingerbread and thanks so much for writing!

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  10. I just happened upon this blog and have now spent the last twenty minutes reading through your posts.
    I am intrigued by your mission statement, if you will, in making old recipes that you find. This past summer my grandmother gave me her, and her mother's, recipe box to look through and find recipes. One recurring term in the old recipes was "bake in a moderately warm oven". Have you seen this or other interesting outdated terms in the recipes you find?

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    1. Thanks for finding A Cake Bakes, Sabine! And I love you're terming my baking adventures as a mission statement -- so true. You are a lucky lady indeed to have your family's recipe boxes at hand. And yes, I do find a lot of vague instructions (like a moderate oven -- that's about 350 degrees, btw)and cases of no instruction (like no cake pan size). It's just part of the fun! Anyway, I just checked out your blog -- amazing. Can't believe you're only 15. The photos are gorgeous and your writing is absolutely wonderful. Keep up the excellent work!

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  11. This recipe looks awesome, but please pardon me for one question (especially if I've overlooked it if it's already been addressed.) The recipe calls for butter, but the instructions say to cream the shortening and sugar together. Which did you use? Shortening...or butter? Thanks. Can't wait to try it.

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    1. Melissa -- Butter, always butter.

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  12. This looks amazing. Just one question - when you say SODA, is that Baking Soda or do you mean like a soft drink soda??

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    1. It's baking soda. You can add it while you sip a soft drink ; ))

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