The spices of Christmas warm our homes and our hearts at this time of year. To my recollection, there has never been a Christmas season in which we have not had some kind of treat or dessert that highlighted the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves … Sometimes, it’s an Apple Pie …other times it will be a Pumpkin Pie … maybe some Ginger Molasses Cookies …. maybe a Coffee Cake laced with layers of brown sugar and cinnamon….and maybe some Gingerbread Cookies.
And, by popular request, very often it will be a Gingerbread Cake.
The origins of this recipe go back almost forty years … to an edition of Better Homes and Gardens. As it often happens, I experimented on my family …and this experiment was a complete success! Since that time, it has been a requested dessert time after time. I have embellished this recipe over the years – more spices, more molasses, and, of course, the addition of buttermilk. The idea of topping the cake with Lemon Sauce was from the original recipe.
Ginger and lemon … a perfect partnership.
Have a very Merry Christmas!!
Prep Time: 20 minutes Baking Time: 35 minutes
Number of Servings: Makes 1 – 9 inch round cake – 6 servings
225 g (1 ½ cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground ginger
¼ teaspoon (1.5 mL) ground cloves
¼ teaspoon (1.5 mL) allspice or Chinese 5-Spice
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
70 g (1/3 cup hard-packed) dark brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
½ cup (125 mL) Crosby’s molasses (Cooking Molasses or Fancy Molasses) – or ¼ cup of each
½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk
- Prepare a 9 – inch round cake pan by lightly buttering or spraying with a vegetable oil spray. Dust with flour. Preheat oven to 350oF (180oC).
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream (with an electric mixer) together butter and brown sugar using medium speed. Beat until light. Add egg, vanilla, and molasses; beat until well incorporated and smooth.
- Add flour-spice mixture and buttermilk, alternatively, to butter mixture – beginning and ending with the flour-spice mixture. Beat well after each addition.
- Pour batter into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes – or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan.
- Serve warm with warm Lemon Sauce.
3/4 cup (85 mL) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1.5 mL) salt
2 tablespoons (30 mL) cornstarch
1 cup (250 mL) water
3 tablespoons (45 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 mL) lemon zest (zest from one lemon)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Slowly stir in water, fresh lemon juice and zest. Cook, over low-medium heat, till thickened and bubbly. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Serve warm.
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