This holiday season, I have yet to eat anything except ONE cannoli. It was the simplest (and best) cannoli — just the cheese without decorations and not dipped in chocolate. Even the apple pie seemed too sweet. To be fair, it was commercial. Ours doesn’t taste like that.
So, after reading Rich’s post about bread and gingerbread, why not? One gingerbread coming right up. Obviously, this isn’t my first posting of gingerbread, but it never gets old. Or, more to the point, I never get tired of it and I’m always messing around with the recipe to see if I can make it even better.
After looking at the yummy pictures, I’ll give you the recipe. I tend to overbake my breads and cakes because even a little under-baking will ruin it. On the other hand, a bit of overbaking doesn’t ruin it and at worst will make the corner a little hard.
I often bake gingerbread in a loaf pan rather than a cake pan, but using a loaf pan adds about 5 minutes to the baking (included in this recipe) which assumes your oven (unlike mine, which is slowly dying) keeps an even temperature.
This is considered a spicy recipe, but I’ve never found it spicy. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s because I do so much Chinese cooking and use so much ginger that I forget that many people find ginger spicy. I think you’d have to use a lot more of it to tickle my palate.
2-1/4 cups of white flour
2 (or 3 if you like it sweeter) tablespoons of sugar
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder (or soda – either will do)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup molasses
1 cup very hot water
1/2 stick of butter, melted (30 seconds in the microwave does it for me)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Beat the eggs with the sugar and melted butter. I used a regular eggbeater. Cleaning up the big mixer is too much work for Friday morning. Mix everything else together. You can use a mixer or a wooden spoon. It’s a bread, so you don’t want to overbeat it. Add the egg mixture and mix some until it looks … well … mixed.
Spray the inside of a loaf pan with oil or use a paper towel dipped in oil. You can skip this if you have a deep and sincere faith in the power of non-stick pans. I go with the oil, but hey, it’s your loaf. Put the batter in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Put the gingerbread in the oven and set the timer (I really believe in timers!) to 50 minutes. At about 30 minutes remaining, lower the temperature to 325 F (165 C). When the timer goes off, put the cake on a rack to cool. As soon as you can handle the pan without burning yourself, turn out the gingerbread and let it cook a little bit more. This is typically served with honey butter, but I’m fine eating it with nothing but a cup of good coffee. Or maybe cocoa.
If you use a cake pan, subtract five minutes off the baking time.
You can use any cooking syrup rather than molasses especially if you don’t happen to have molasses available. I’ve used maple syrup and golden syrup. It doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it tastes good. It’s darker when you use molasses and maybe a bit richer. Regardless, it’s a great, easy-to-bake little cake that can be served with your meal rather than only as dessert. Cut down on the sugar a bit and it gets more “bready” and less “cakey.” You can also add nuts (crushed please) or raisins. Or, for that matter, any chopped dried fruit.
At some point, it’s hard to tell what kind of cake it is. I generally don’t add anything, but you can if you have the makings on hand.