My family and I adore all things ginger and gingerbread. Gingerbread and ginger cakes were a specialty of my mother’s family, so baking them creates a nostalgia and peace for me, especially during the holidays. This year, everything seem so displaced and disjointed; we cannot gather the same we used to, and we cannot have all of the faces we wish to see around the table.
So, this morning, I found myself thinking of my grandmother and wanting to make ginger cake. I can tell you that, rolling up my sleeves and sifting the flour on my wooden kitchen table, made me feel more connected – even though she passed away 26 years ago, and even though my Thanksgiving and Christmas are far smaller than what I am used to.
Here is the recipe. It is a little more nuanced than most ginger cakes, in my opinion. Most ginger cakes and bread have a cloying sweetness that I don’t care for. The addition of clove and cinnamon give it a depth. Of course, if you prefer things sweeter, feel free to add an extra half cup of sugar. You can top this with confectioner’s sugar, or a home-made whipped cream. Either are lovely. I hope you like it and that it gives you some comfort during a rough year.
Total Time: 2 hours; one hour to prepare and bake and one hour to cool
You will need:
- 6-8 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and minced.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup (8 oz) unsulfured molasses
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
- 1/3 cup water
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse ginger until finely chopped. This should generate about one cup. Grease a bundt cake pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs.
On a stove top, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in molasses, water and fresh ginger until fully blended. Add the molasses mixture to the bowl with sugar and eggs. Combine. Gently fold in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour cake batter into pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely for an hour. Then, run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or homemade whipped cream.