I was on a rampage for something sweet recently. I purposely keep my house snack-free. I also don’t drink milk or eat whole eggs, so baking is often out of the question. However, I did have eggs for once, and I had a hankering for something dark and spicy and flavorful, as opposed to some yellow cake mix I microwaved. (Yes, I’ve done that in my desperate moments).
Without a mix, I endeavored to undertake a rare project – something from scratch. I looked for spice cakes on allrecipes.com and uncovered this gingerbread recipe. It is gingerbread in the form of an actual cake as opposed to the flat cookie we are more used to. I made a lot of substitutions to the original recipe because I can’t follow baking directions to save my life. I added allspice, cardamom, and nutmeg, and I switched half the hot water for rum. I also decided I wanted even more molasses, so I changed the white sugar to brown sugar. The modified recipe is below.
The flavor of this cake is spicy and complex with a hint of bitterness. It’s like drinking a stout beer in that respect. It’s certainly sweet enough to still be called cake, as opposed to bread, but I’m not sure if children would favor the more subtle sweetness.
Originally from allrecipes.com, with modifications:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup warm rum*
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the water and the rum. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving
*You will taste the rum. It gave the gingerbread a warm, tingly characteristic straight out of the oven but faded the next day.
So, some hijinks ensued, of coures. My brown sugar was dried out and lumpy, so I added some water and microwaved it. The hot, runny sugar mixed really well with the butter, but later, when I added the rum and hot water, I realized I should have scaled back the hot water to make up for the extra water in the sugar. I realized that too late, so I threw in some flour to fix it. It still turned out fine, amazingly!
Look at that beautiful texture. The cake was quite moist but heavy. The flavor profile is complex, and a single slab is heavy because it is such a tall cake.
And that shiny, caramelized crust. Mmm. Oh, it crackled and was simply delicious.
It’s a little boring to photograph, though, so while I was looking for ideas, my significant other, Louis, snuck in and added a gift bow to this slice. I thought it was amusing and slightly Christmas-y.
You can see that it had nice, crisp edges as well. I added a pecan just for this shot, but I do think that nuts would be a good addition to this gingerbread. The crunch would provide some textural contrast, and if they were roasted or sugar-drizzled nuts, the sweetness would be provide a foil for the rich and dark flavor of the gingerbread.