Discover the Wonderful World of Gingerbread!


Gingerbread CakeGingerbread is scrumptious. It’s easy. (Think of sheet cakes without frosting.) And there are lots of interesting avenues to explore. You can make them as robust and spicy as you choose—dark with blackstrap molasses to light (“white”) with maple syrup. Gingerbread is great topped simply with sweetened whipped cream but is irresistible topped with a sauce. Lemon and caramel sauces are traditional but orange sauce, raspberry sauce, and rum sauce are worthy of consideration. Cream cheese spreads work fine. Gingerbread can also be topped with fruit such as sliced bananas or strawberries.

In this article we’ll explore:

A traditional gingerbread
A light or “white” gingerbread
Lemon sauce
Caramel sauce
Cinnamon peach sauce
Tips and tidbits for better gingerbread


Traditional Gingerbread

Traditional gingerbread is made with spices—most notably, ginger—and molasses. It’s the ginger and molasses that are most pronounced. Cut back on the ginger and use a light molasses for a mildly flavored cake that even the kids will adore.

Top the gingerbread with sweetened whipped cream or a sauce of your choosing. (Check out recipes for sauces.)

This cake can be made in a rectangular pan or a round springform pan. The gingerbread shown was made in a ten-inch springform pan with a glass base. (Learn more about these springform pans.)

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Grease a 10-inch springform pan or a 9 x 9-inch square pan.
2. Mix the flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, mace, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the egg and beat until light and airy. Add the molasses.
4. Starting with the flour mixture, add the flour and buttermilk to the creamed mixture in three or four additions beating just until combined with the mixer on lowest speed. Do not over mix.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until done. The top should spring back when lightly touched and toothpick or skewer should come out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
6. Let cool for 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or a sauce of your choosing.


Light Gingerbread

Light or “white” ginger bread is milder in flavor and lighter—but not white—in color. The amount of ginger is reduced and instead of molasses, brown sugar or maple syrup is used for a sweetener. This recipe uses maple syrup.

Ingredients

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch rectangular pan.
2. Mix the flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg and beat until light and airy. Add the maple syrup.
4. Starting with the flour mixture, add the flour and buttermilk to the creamed mixture in three or four additions beating just until combined with the mixer on lowest speed. Do not over mix.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. The top should spring back when lightly touched and toothpick or skewer should come out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
6. Let cool for 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or a sauce of your choosing.


Lemon Sauce

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
zest from two lemons
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter

1. Combine the 1/3 lemon juice, 1/3 cup water, and granulated sugar in a saucepan. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the zest.
2. Mix the cornstarch in a cup with the 1/4 cup water until it is dissolved. Add that the saucepan.
3. Cook until bubbling and thickened. Remove from the heat and add the butter.


Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup condensed milk
1 teaspoon rum or vanilla flavor

4. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch and milk.
5. Heat until bubbling and thickened. Remove from the heat and add the flavoring.


Cinnamon Peach Sauce

8 to 10 ounces of frozen peach slices
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Combine the frozen peach slices and water in a saucepan. Add the sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. .
2. Mix the cornstarch into a cup with the lemon juice and two tablespoons water until it is dissolved. Add that the saucepan.
3. Heat until bubbling and thickened. Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon.


Tips and Tidbits for Better Gingerbread

• Blackstrap molasses is dark, thick, and intensely flavored. Most of the molasses that you will find on store shelves is “unsulfured” and not a strong.
• For a milder flavored gingerbread, try fresh ginger rather than commercially ground ginger. Two to three tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger will equal one tablespoon of dry ginger.
• The easiest way to peel ginger is to scrape the skin off with the edge of a spoon.
• For the best presentation, remove the cake from the pan, trim the edges, and use a ruler to make straight, uniform cuts.
• If you line the pan with parchment paper or foil, you can grab the edges of the paper and lift the cake from the pan.

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