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Butterscotch-Topped Gingerbread with Sautéed Apples

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Serves twelve.

This gingerbread is super moist with a dense crumb. Because it cooks at such a low temperature, the baking soda must be activated by the acid in the molasses and the heat of the boiling water before the cake is baked.

For the butterscotch:
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
For the cake:
  • 12-1/2 oz. (2-3/4 cups) cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulted sugar
  • 1 tsp. plus 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 large eggs
For the topping:

Butter and flour the sides (not the bottom) of a 9-inch round cake pan that’s 3 inches deep, tapping out the excess flour. To make the butterscotch, in a small saucepan, melt the 6 Tbs. butter with the brown sugar, stirring for a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and swirl it to cover the bottom.

Heat the oven to 300°F. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; set aside.

With a fork, stir 1 tsp. of the baking soda vigorously into the molasses until the molasses has lightened somewhat and has changed in texture; this can take a minute or two. Add the molasses to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on medium until completely combined. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp. baking soda to the boiling water. On low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the water to the buttermolasses mixture. Mix until just smooth. Finally, add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be very thin.

Bake until the center of the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 min. Let cool 5 min. and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let cool for an hour before serving; the cake will still be warm, which is how it’s best.

Just before serving, sauté the apples. Let them cool slightly. Top the cake with the warm apples and serve with some whipped cream, if you like.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per serving without cream; Calories (kcal): 470; Fat (g): 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 10; Protein (g): 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): 76; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 260; Cholesterol (mg): 80; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Joanne McAllister Smart

I have made this several times and it is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Delicious cake, I've done it with or without the apples. Keep them on the side if you don't eat it all all one sitting.

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