The motivation for making what may seem like a rather complicated gingerbread cake (it calls for blackstrap molasses, honey, and mascobado sugar) was both the beautiful, and mouthwatering, photos on 101 Cookbooks and the Amazon reviews of the cookbook from whence the recipe originated: In the Sweet Kitchen. Like the Gingerbread People recipe we made before Christmas, this gingerbread cake starts by melting butter and a number of sweeteners together in a pot to create the most delicious holiday aroma, and perhaps the main reason why I seem to be obsessed with ginger and molasses combinations this year.
Since I followed the recipe from 101 Cookbooks almost exactly, I would recommend consulting it for a more detailed discussion of good pan sizes, for example. The first time I used a bundt pan because Peter’s parents have such things and I had never used one before (laugh all you want about me being excited about baking a cake in a new shaped pan, but there it is). The second time I made a small cake in a parchment paper lined glass pan and a heart-shaped cake in a spring-form pan. Merry cake-making!
Black Sticky Gingerbread
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cups blackstrap molasses
3/4 cups honey
1 cup packed mascobado sugar (or very dark sugar)
3 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a bundt pan or butter and line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper. Melt the butter, water, molasses, honey, and sugar in a pot large enough to mix all the ingredients in (a small to medium pot) on low heat, just until the butter melts. Let it cool while you mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves). When the molasses mixture is room temperature (or at least body temperature), add the eggs one by one and then add the milk, mixing well. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk to get out most of the clumps (some clumps are ok). Add the fresh ginger and mix. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly. Check the cake for doneness after 45 minutes. After the cake is out of the oven for 10 minutes, transfer it to a cooling rack, or plan to serve it in the cake pan. This cake can be refrigerated and then just brought to room temperature before serving. As with all cakes this delicious and interesting by themselves, a bit of whipped cream, with or without boozy additions, would be an excellent topping.
The first time we made this gingerbread we forgot to add baking soda (there were a lot of exciting things going on simultaneously), and guess what? It was still delicious! Closer to a gingermousse cake than a gingerbread, perhaps, but at least it came out cleanly from the bundt pan.