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Steamed Coriander-Gingerbread Cake with Eggnog Crème Anglaise

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields two 9-inch cakes

Servings: Each cake 8-10

Though the steaming process leaves it deliciously moist straight from the oven, This cake is even better one or two days later, after the spices have had a chance to meld.


  • Cooking spray for the cake pans
  • 1 lb., 1 oz. (3-3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1-1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 6 oz. (generous 1 cup) pitted dates, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups molasses
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 recipe Eggnog Crème Anglaise

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on 20 servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 430
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 180
  • Fat (g): 20
  • Saturated Fat (g): 11
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 125
  • Sodium (mg): 380
  • Carbohydrates (g): 57
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 6


  • Bring a large kettle of water to a boil—you’ll need 1-1/2 cups for the cake batter and about 2 quarts for the steaming pan.
  • Position one rack in the center of the oven and another beneath it in the lowest slot. Set a 10x15x2-inch baking pan or Pyrex dish on the lower rack and fill the pan halfway with boiling water. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two 9×2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment. Apply another light coat of cooking spray to the parchment.

Prep the ingredients:

  • Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Put the chopped dates in a small bowl with 3 Tbs. of the flour mixture. Pull apart any date pieces that may be stuck together and toss to evenly coat with the flour.
  • Crush the coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Alternatively, seal the seeds in a zip-top plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them finely.

Mix the batter:

  • Put the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter on medium speed until very soft and smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the molasses and beat again on medium speed just until evenly incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 10 seconds after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed between additions. The batter will look broken.
  • Measure out 1-1/2 cups boiling water. Turn the mixer to very low speed or, if you prefer, do all remaining mixing by hand. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the boiling water in five additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until each addition is incorporated, as overmixing will lead to a tougher cake—it’s fine if the batter looks slightly lumpy. Stir in the reserved date-flour mixture, crushed coriander seeds, and chopped walnuts. The batter will be quite loose.

Bake the cakes:

  • Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Set both pans on the center rack and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 40 to 55 minutes. Let the cakes cool in their pans about 10 minutes and then invert them onto cooling racks and peel off the parchment paper. (Allow the water-filled baking pan to cool in the oven until it can be safely moved without spilling hot water.)
  • Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature. Cut each cake into 8 to 10 slices and serve each piece with 2 to 3 Tbs. of Eggnog Crème Anglaise.

Make Ahead Tips

Though the steaming process leaves it deliciously moist straight from the oven, I prefer this cake one or two days later, after the spices have had a chance to meld. If baking ahead, wrap the cakes tightly in plastic while they are still slightly warm to the touch. (Any trapped steam will condense, adding moisture to the cakes.) Store the cakes up to a week at room temperature. To reheat: Remove the plastic, put the cakes on a cookie sheet, and cover them loosely with foil. Heat them in a 300°F oven until warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes. You can freeze the cakes, wrapped in plastic and then foil, for up to two months.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • claraelizabeth | 12/18/2019

    Gingerbread & whipped cream was a real treat on a Sunday when there was a little extra money. We loved it and till today I love any “gingerbread” type recipe. I can’t wait to try this. I know it will be delicious.

    On another note, I’d like to thank whoever wrote out this recipe. Pointing out that the batter “breaks” and that it’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy. Also, that it’s better after a few days is great information when baking during the hectic holidays.

    Another great recipe from my favorite, fabulous Fine Cooking magazine!!!!

  • User avater
    jaclyne | 01/31/2009

    I made this a few years ago for christmas dinner and it was lovely and moist. I really liked the addition of coriander seed, added a nice lemony perfume to the cake.

  • kenni | 12/05/2007

    My Book Club loved it, they liked the spice. I would use less coriander and allow the other spices to be tasted. The creme anglaise was excellent and easy to make.

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