I have never been a Gingerbread fan nor have I ever had the desire to make little men or houses out of the stuff. That said, however, while researching menu ideas for a recent Depression Era themed book club that I hosted, I was intrigued by the suggestion of "hot Gingerbread". The Gingerbread recipe I subsequently settled on has changed my relationship with Gingerbread forever. I don't know what good Gingerbread is supposed to taste like but this not too sweet cake is teeming with the familiar and cozy complexities of molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. I can't say that I'll be making little men or houses any time soon, but I will be making this cake again. I served it with homemade sweet whipped cream kissed with vanilla and cinnamon. If you are looking for a unique dessert to serve this holiday season, look no further. (Disclaimer: I love to cook, but I am not a baker. To all of you bakers out there, feel free to correct any of my baking or cream whipping mistakes.)
The recipe that follows is my variation of Favorite Old Fashioned Gingerbread found at AllRecipes.com
Cozy Gingerbread Cake
1/2 C white sugar
1/4 C soft butter
3/4 C applesauce
1 large egg
1 C molasses
1 1/4 C AP flour
1 1/4 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 C hot water
extra cinnamon for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add applesauce, egg, and molasses, blend well.
3. In a separate bowl sift dry ingredients together (flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt)
4. Blend dry ingredient bowl in to wet ingredient bowl. Stir in the hot water.
5. Pour batter in to prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool in pan and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.
I served mine with a "special" whipped cream as I mentioned. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment. It is best if you can cool the whisk and bowl in the refrigerator for a bit before using and make sure your cream is cold.
1. Pour 8 oz cold high quality whipping cream...NOT HALF & HALF, but real whipping cream (I used Organic Valley)... in the chilled mixing bowl.
2. Begin whisking on low and gradually advance to high so as not to splatter everywhere. (you may use a hand mixer or even whisk by hand if you have the time and endurance)
3. When cream thickens and begins to form soft peaks, slow speed and slowly add 1 heaping tablespoon of powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla, and a couple of hefty shakes of cinnamon.
4. Increase speed again until cream is firm and airy. CAUTION: DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF THE WHIPPING PROCESS FOR A SECOND! Your cream will turn to butter in an instant if you don't watch it carefully. (If this happens, don't throw it away. Follow these directions and make yourself some yummy butter!) Once it starts to change from a liquid to a foam the rest of the process happens very quickly.
5. Taste your whipped cream and adjust flavors as necessary by simply folding them in. To serve, heap in a pretty bowl with a spoon so guests can serve themselves. The whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container until the cake is gone.