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One Badass Gingerbread Cake — Happy New Year


Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner. The search for the perfect gingerbread is over, and here is the winning recipe - a combination of an Edna Lewis recipe my sister sent to me, and “Grandmom Lindner’s Gingerbread” I found in a book. I am proud this New Year’s Eve to bring to you, yes indeed, One Badass Gingerbread. Here’s to a great 2010 for us all. And if you want, you can do what I have been doing for years. Make your list of the things you wish, dream and hope for in the coming year. Print it on a bright colored 3 x 5 card and hang it in sight somewhere in your home. Watch your dreams come true. And in the meantime, if you love to bake and love gingerbread, here’s the most badass of the badass gingerbreads:

One Badass Gingerbread

Makes one 9-inch square pan, or one 8-inch square pan.Thickness of cake will vary accordingly.

Adapted from “The Gift of Southern Cooking,” by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock (Random House, 2003)
Time: About 1 hour

Note: regular and robust molasses, specified below, are the types of the brand “Grandma’s” molasses, found in most supermarkets. Any dark molasses can be substituted, however keep in mind that blackstrap molasses, if you choose it, is much darker and much more bitter than the molasses that was used in the tests for this recipe.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for pan
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup Grandma’s “regular” molasses (1 1/2 cups altogether of one type of molasses may be substituted instead of 3/4 cup of two different kinds.)
3/4 cup Grandma’s “robust” molasses
Freshly whipped cream, for serving.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-by-8-by-2-inch or a 9-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan (watch baking times if you use a larger pan as the gingerbread will bake more quickly and come out a bit more thin). Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Blend in spices and salt and whisk with a wire whisk.
2. In a small pan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Melt 1/2 cup butter in it, then whisk water into flour mixture. Beat eggs and add to mixture, along with molasses. Whisk until well blended. Pour into pan.
3. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a skewer plunged into center comes out with no trace of raw batter. Interior will be moist. When pan is cooler, but still very warm, wrap entire pan with plastic wrap, then cool it further while wrapped. Unwrap, then serve warm or room temperature with freshly whipped cream.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Note: This cake is also delicious the day after it is baked. The spices meld and the texture gets even more like a steamed pudding.

Laura’s note:  I have made this cake serveral times now and have this to offer:  You can substitute half the butter for canola oil if you wish.  And if you don’t like the strong taste of molasses, you can also replace half the molasses with brown sugar.  It is excellent.

see also: One Badass Cookie - Ginger Molasses Cookie

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Do you think this recipe would be good using the badass gingerbread?


or too much of a good thing?? It’s certainly a project for a wintery afternoon…

    –  (January 01 2010 at 1:42)

Hi Annette,
Yes, I think my badass gingerbread would be great in your recipe, but I would divide the work into two days. First I would make the gingerbread.Then I would freeze some of it to use to make the puddings when I had time to bake again. And yes, you could make a day of it if the baking spirit moved you. I once made banana bread pudding and it was well worth the effort to make the banana bread one day, then make it into the pudding another day. If you’ve never made one of these quick bread puddings you’re in for a treat. They’re incredibly delicious. Thanks for your comment! Happy New Year.

    –  (January 01 2010 at 10:05)

So first of all, this is a cool recipe with a couple of unique things going for it:  melting butter in water and wrapping the finished product to steam.  Interesting techniques!

That said, I used Grandma’s “regular” grocery store molasses and it was PLENTY molassesey for me.  No need for for robust, thanks.  (I had never really noticed or paid attention to the different ypes before.)

This has an unusual homey old fashioned flavor. We ate it warm from the oven (wrapped it for 15 minutes).  Everyone here loved it.

    –  (January 02 2010 at 10:29)

Happy belated New Year! Finally, I catch up with the end of the gingerbread odyssey. This sounds terrific, especially the part where you ladle on the whipped cream smile I still have a soft spot for Laurie Colwin’s recipe, particularly with lemon icing on top, but I’ll be giving this one a try for sure before the weather gets too warm for me to appreciate it properly smile

    – Liz (January 06 2010 at 1:17)

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