Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gingerbread Destiny

It's a rare afternoon when I find myself flipping casually through a cookbook, randomly stop on a recipe, think it sounds good, and realize I have all its ingredients on hand. (It's that last one that usually trips me up.) So when I ran across Laurel's recipe for gingerbread and realized I could make it without a trip to the store, and my daughters were both napping, well,  I took it as a sign.

Imagination time!
Imagine this mildly disappointing picture of gingerbread is actually delicious-looking.

Gingerbread   from The New Laurel's Kitchen
1/3 cup soft or melted butter
1 cup dark molasses (or 2/3 cup blackstrap & 1/3 cup honey) [I used the combo]
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk or orange juice [I "made" buttermilk by adding vinegar to whole milk]
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins
(1 Tbls orange zest) (optional) [I left this out]
(1/2 tsp dry mustard) (optional) [I used this. I figured, weird, but why not?]
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix butter and molasses. Beat in egg and add buttermilk or orange juice.
Sift together the dry ingredients and combine everything together.
Turn into a greased 9"x 9" square pan. Bake 40 mins.

Results of stars aligning:  We LOVED this! Soooo good. It had absolute perfect texture (think: that perfect mid-point between cake and brownie). The flavor was rich and could have been too much but for the brilliant sweet bursts of raisiny fabulousness that caught your tastebuds by surprise with each bite. Honestly, really, really good. 

Only one small point of contention:  I wouldn't actually call this Gingerbread. I'd call it Molasses Cake. And maybe it's just because I've never had "real" gingerbread prior to baking this? But I didn't taste the ginger, I tasted molasses. And raisins. Totally delicious, but not very gingery. Or bread-like. 

So there you have it. Followed my destiny and made an amazing ginger/molasses bread/cake. Awesome. You should make it too. Go check your shelves. 


  1. I made this recently too. I used eggnog instead of buttermilk, since it was seasonal and in the fridge. I also increased the ginger. I plumped the raisins in warm brandy. I also added some clove and cardamom powder and a little allspice. I didn't have any orange zest or juice, but I had organic sweet orange essential oil and put a few drops in the batter because I like the flavor. I don't think I tasted it much tho. I agree, it isn't a ginger bread so much as a molasses cake. I served it with fresh local creme fraiche from Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes Station. Yum.

  2. Your substitutions sound amazing! I bet that was a delicious crumb. Mmmm.

    I'm toying with trying another recipe from Joy of Cooking (uses 1/2 fresh ginger. Now THAT has got to taste like ginger bread!).