How often do we forget the memory of the joys of eating gingerbread warm from the oven as children? The baking cake would fill our house with the scent of exotic spices and make us salivate. It was torture to have to wait long enough for it to cool so it wouldn’t become a burning mass in our mouths. We couldn’t get enough whipped cream and would pile dollop after dollop on top of our fragrant warm brown squares before my mother would pull it away from us. Fresh ginger adds a pungent note to this sweet bread much more so than using only powdered. Grate the ginger on the fine side of a grater and try to leave most of the fibers behind when taking away the juice and the pulp. This gingerbread also bakes beautifully in a small decorative pans such as a fancy bundt.—Maria Helm Sinskey
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger with juice but without tough fibers
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
2 teaspoons confections sugar, optional
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 7-cup loaf pan or a square 9-by-9-by-3-inch cake pan. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the grated ginger and beat well for 15 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time one, beating well after each addition.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the molasses and buttermilk. Add the flour and molasses mixtures to the butter mixture in two parts, beating after each addition until the ingredients are just combined.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake and cool completely.
5. Whip the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, if using, and vanilla, until softly mounded. Place a dollop on top of each serving of cake.
Note: For this recipe, avoid using a dark-colored pan. It browns the sides and bottom of the cake too much.
Recipe © 2004 by Maria Helm Sinskey. All rights reserved.