Yes I know, it's still August, and therefore far from the holiday season, but who doesn't like a little bit of Christmas cheer brought to their summer? A classic holiday dessert, warm, spicy gingerbread is one of my favorite sweets, but also one that I've struggled to find a good recipe for. One of the best gingerbreads I've ever had is baked at Whole Foods Market because of its moist, almost wet to the touch, super dark cake. I've tried one or two recipes in the past, but never ended up with as dark and rich a flavor as the one I could buy at the market (kind of disappointing). After having forgotten about my gingerbread recipe search for quite a while, on one of the hottest days of the summer I randomly remembered again, so I pretended it was december, got out my recipe binder, and looked for the recipes I knew I had stored inside.
Having never truly succeeded at baking gingerbread, I didn't have much to base my decision of which recipe to attempt off of, so I just picked one that seemed simple, straightforward, and had LOTS of molasses, which I figured is what contributes to gingerbread's darkness.
With the smell of warm spices wafting through the air, I couldn't wait to get this gingerbread out of the oven. I was slightly disappointed in how mild the flavors were, and thought the cake could have been moister, but for anyone who prefers a lighter gingerbread with less of spicy kick, this gingerbread would be great. Maybe next time in addition to tons of molasses, I'll add in more spices to perk up the gingerbread and give it some heat, and use oil rather than butter to bump up the moistness.
Master Recipe Gingerbread
1 1/4 cups unsulfured molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp plus 3/4 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven 350 deg F. Grease 9x13 inch pan, set aside.
Place molasses and baking soda in bowl, add boiling water, let cool to room temp.
Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl (use paddle attachment on high speed in mixer if you prefer), until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
Sift together salt, spices, flour, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 dry ingredients to butter mixture, mix until incorporated. Add 1/2 of liquid and mix well. Continue adding dry and wet alternately, mixing well after each addition, ending with dry. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temp, with whipped cream, lemon curd, or vanilla ice cream.