Dark and Moist Gingerbread

While cake traditionally isn’t my dessert of choice, I’m more of a pie gal, I have always been a sucker for a good gingerbread. And through the years, I’ve tried my share of recipes, but nothing quite fit the bill. Until now.

I discovered this recipe last fall when I hosted dinner for my book club. Cooking for this group of friends is always fun, and though they may not be aware, they are my guinea pigs for a variety of recipes I want to try, but don’t have the mouths to feed. And thank goodness, most have been successes!

This Dark and Moist Gingerbread is another hit from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. This cake is like its name, dark, moist, and super easy. You can make it the evening before you want to eat it, or even after work, with some minor prepping of the flour and spices in the morning; measuring out the flour and spices was quicker than heating up my tea water! Homemade whipped cream is optional, although I always serve it.

When I was asked to make dessert for a gathering this week, this was the first thing that popped into my head. But you don’t need a gathering to make this. If it’s a cold and damp November evening, mix a bowl of this gingerbread up and let the molasses, ginger, and cinnamon warm the house and fill your kitchen with its wonderful fragrance. You won’t regret it!

Dark and Moist Gingerbread
From The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper
Serves 6-8
15 minutes prep time, 40 minutes oven time
Keeps 5 to 7 days, tightly wrapped on the counter, and freezes beautifully

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, organic preferred (I use King Arthur)
1 generous teaspoon baking soda
Generous ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I usually use salted butter and either cut down or omit the additional salt)
¾ cup mild or dark molasses
¾ cup very hot water
⅓ tight-packed cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
Whipped cream, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square light-colored metal baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, molasses, hot water, and brown sugar. When the mixture is almost frothy, beat in the egg, and gradually add the flour blend. Stir until thoroughly blended, but no more.

3. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

4. For a moist gingerbread, cool it in the pan on a wire rack. (Cook’s note: This is what I do!) For a drier consistency, cool the gingerbread in the pan for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool.

Serve warm if possible, with whipped cream. Don’t forget to eat this for breakfast; it’s even better the day after it’s baked.