Old-fashioned gingerbread is the perfect treat to keep on hand during the holidays. There are many different kinds — from the darkest, densest cakes made with robust molasses and stout beer to the lightest, most delicate cakes flavored only with brown sugar and a hint of ground ginger. This recipe, adapted from Cooking with Memories by Lora Brody, is the perfect balance between the two: it’s dark and gingery enough to please the even most serious gingerbread aficionados yet also mild enough for young children, who (in my experience) seem to love it.
The best part is that it’s incredibly quick and easy to make — the batter is mixed by hand and comes together in 15 minutes — and it needs nothing more than a cup of coffee, dollop of sweetened whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream to go along with it.
Begin by spraying the pan with non-stick cooking spray and coating lightly with flour.
Next, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
Combine the brown sugar, molasses, butter and boiling water in a large bowl, and whisk until the butter is melted.
When the mixture is lukewarm, whisk in the egg. (If the mixture is too hot, it will cook the egg.)
Add the dry ingredients.
And whisk until there are no more lumps.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
Let cool slightly, then slice and serve warm. It’s truly delicious on its own, especially as a snack, but you can also dress it up for dessert with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Happy Holidays!
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup mild-flavored molasses, such as Grandma's Original (not Robust or Blackstrap)
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add a few tablespoons of flour to the pan; shake and turn pan until bottom and sides are evenly coated with a light dusting flour. Holding pan upside-down over sink, tap out any excess flour.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine, butter, dark brown sugar, molasses and boiling water. Whisk until butter is melted. When mixture is luke warm, whisk in egg.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined and there are no more lumps. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges look dark and the middle feels firm to the touch. Set pan on a rack to cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve. This cake is best served warm out of the oven or reheated.