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Ginger Cake

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Serves eight.

Yields one 8x8-inch cake.

  • Make the menu:
    A Modern Christmas
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 96

This cake is very much like a traditional gingerbread, except that it’s made with buttermilk and is extra tender and moist. Serve it on its own with lightly sweetened whipped cream, or use it to make Ginger Cake Trifles.

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature; more for the pan
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured mild molasses
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides of an 8x8-inch square cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the fresh ginger and mix until just combined. Add both sugars and beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix on medium speed until well combined. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the molasses. Add about one-third of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry and wet ingredients in four more additions, finishing with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined after each addition. Scrape the batter into the cake pan and spread it evenly.

Bake the cake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, at least an hour.

Make Ahead Tips

The cake can be made a day ahead and stored at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 320; Fat (g): fat g 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 48; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 190; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 60; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I'm not sure what "traditional gingerbread" tastes like, but this cake is fabulous. I've made it often and get frequent requests for it. I find it turns out best when I bake it in a round light surfaced cake pan. Other times I've cooked it in a square dark surfaced pan and the edges and corners overcook and burn. Bake it the full 35 minutes as it is a dense mix and will be undercooked in the centre if not.

Easy and tasty!

The cake is light, moist and has a good ginger flavor. However, it is unlike its description where Ms. Middleton said "is very much like a traditional gingerbread", it does not at all taste like a traditional gingerbread. It is as titled a 'ginger cake." So, if you are looking for a ginger cake it is nice, if you want gingerbread look for another recipe.

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