Friday, April 13, 2007

Thank Goodness It's Gingerbread

Friday is the gateway to the weekend. You're still mired in the work or school week, but you're looking ahead to 2 whole days without schedules and responsibilities (unless you're a mother with small children). Although you want to celebrate the temporary reprieve from the load, you're probably exhausted.

What you need is dessert. Well, that's always my prescription for fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, hangnails, split ends, and restless leg syndrome. OK, it's pretty much my cure-all for everything. But who, at the end of an intense week, has the energy to whip up a Caramel Mocha Gateau with Spun Sugar topping? Not me, and by the way, you needed to start making it three days ago to serve it tonight.

OK, what you need is an easy dessert that you can throw together in 20 minutes or less, toss into the oven, and then garner ooohs and aaaahs from your family and friends when you serve it. Who knew that such a recipe could be found in a Martha Stewart cookbook?

I tend to stay away from Martha Stewart because she intimidates me. Her recipes and instructions always seem to call for exotic ingredients or tools that I don't have on hand, and if I try to substitute it will fail. My ice cream will curdle because I don't have the black-currant puree that she keeps in her freezer and I won't be able to make those adorable cookies because I don't own the Italian cookie molds that Martha uses.

However, I wanted to try a new recipe for gingerbread for today's post and I was thrilled with the results. This recipe from Holidays yielded a larger cake than any of my other recipes (bonus if company's coming) and it has a daintier, fluffier appearance that makes it more cake-like and a fancier dessert. Especially when topped with a fat blob of whipped cream and a piece of homemade crystallized ginger.

Weekend Gingerbread

1 cup boiling water
2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Whipped cream for garnish
Crystallized Ginger

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside. Combine boiling water with baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, spices and baking powder. Set aside.

2- In the large bowl of a mixer, cream butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in molasses and baking-soda mixture. Beat in flour mixture. Add eggs and beat well.

3- Pour batter into pan and bake for 35 minutes (a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean). Cool on wire rack. To serve top with whipped cream and a slice or two of Crystallized Ginger.

*Random Neuron Firing - Why is the term "gingerbread" used to describe both construction-quality dough used for semi-edibile cottages and a fluffy cake? And neither of them is a bread? Why not ginger cake and ginger plywood?


Anonymous said...

Random Neuron Firing is one of the reasons I like you so much! Yummy Ginger Loaf!

Anonymous said...

It looks like a big, ginger poof -to put your feet on, but instead, your fork-.....Glob isn't the right word for the whipped cream. Maybe...'a fluff of weihtless sugar.......'
It looks really good.
Perhaps next time we come over, we could make it with you!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So nummy. I highly enjoyed this cake. I think it's better then your last. I like the fact that it's really smooth, but then again... really smooth means it is easier to gobble down to much.

Helene said...

It looks wonderful! i don't think this cake would last the whole weekend in my house!
Great pic!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Dianne - I'm so glad you can handle random since that's basically what I am.

Emily - I'd love to bake it with you.

Helene - Thanks for stopping by to visit and for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn,
Ur gingerbread looks really yummy n im dying to try this recipe out. Im in Australia - can u advise whether i can use black strap molasses to replace unsulfured molasses?


Cookie baker Lynn said...

Susanna - Blackstrap molasses, while being rich in vitamins and minerals, is rather bitter. I would not recommend substituting it for regular unsulfured molasses in baking. Perhaps you could ask Anh (A Food Lover's Journey), who is also in Australia, what's available. Good luck and happy baking!