Wednesday was a snow day in NYC and, while "working from home," I used my "lunch hour" to whip up this delicious gingerbread. It's not from a vintage recipe; you can find wonderful vintage gingerbread recipes here, here, here and here. It is modern but is thisclose to my favorite gingerbread, from a magazine recipe clipped 30 years ago, and long since misplaced. I wasn't planning to write about it, but when my children (who, ironically, don't care for sweets) declared it was the best thing I'd baked, I felt compelled to share.
This gingerbread cake is very, very easy to make (you can even do it on your lunch hour!) and has a fine crumb. It is not the "damp" gingerbread preferred by some, yet the depth of flavor is superb. And it's plenty moist too.
The mise en place, below. It's pretty straightforward.
Let the magic begin. Be sure that your butter is softened to room temperature; otherwise you will be late returning to work from "lunch."
Add the eggs one at at time, mixing well after each addition. I always (having learned the hard way), crack each egg into a separate bowl before adding to the batter. This way, you can detect any "off" eggs and also keep the errant pieces of shell from ruining your creation.
Add in the molasses. Spray your measuring cup with Pam so that the sticky molasses easuky slides out of the cup.
Pour/spoon the batter into your prepared pan. It is essential that you both grease AND flour the pan to avoid the heartbreak of the cake not releasing in one piece.
Let it cool for ten minutes.
Turn the cake out onto the baking rack.
As soon as the cake is in the oven, begin the glaze by mixing spice, water and sugar. Combine and heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Let it sit to thicken up a bit. I use a silicone brush, but a spoon can be used to apply the glaze too.
Production notes: The recipe is copied and pasted below, and you can find the link here. I followed it exactly, but made my own spice mixture, as directed. I also greased and floured the pan (don't skip this step! or you can use Pam for Baking). The cake was done in about 40 minutes, so start checking it early. (Note: The first time I made this, I baked it longer, and the top got stuck in the pan because I hadn't properly prepared the pan. However, the DH thought that version was better, as the longer bake caused the top to caramelize.) For the glaze, I mixed the ingredients and then heated them until the sugar was melted, i.e., the mixture was translucent. I'd also advise making it early, so it can sit and thicken before being applied. (I did try substituting rum for water -- it tasted terrible, so I tossed that and went with water.)
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons gingerbread spice; or 2 1/2 teaspoons ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup rum or water
- 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice; or 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10- to 12-cup bundt-style pan.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, gingerbread spice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the molasses.
- Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the water, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the water spice and sugar. Set aside.
- Remove the cake from the oven, cool it in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack.
- Brush the cake with the glaze, and allow it to cool completely before serving.