Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ginger Bread Cake

Some mornings I wake up and need to be in the kitchen.  So, by 8:30 a.m., I was still in my robe, wrestling with thick, goopy molasses, whipping up an old gingerbread recipe I had stored in my bookmarks.  You see, next week I promised to make some old-fashioned desserts for a friend's 1940's radio show style reading of "It's a Wonderful life" in Point Reyes Station, CA  - Friday, December 12, 2015, 7:30 pm, doors open and tasty treats starting at 6:30 pm.

Having a new oven and needing an excuse to use it as much as possible, I thought I'd do a test run. I can't imagine a better way of spending a rainy December morning:  coffee, kitchen, molasses-ey batter... A few years ago I bought a square cupcake style pan to make little soaps and lotion bars for holiday gifts. I had forgotten that I owned it until last week (I know, sort of hard to believe...). If you read my last blog post, you will see I've developed a penchant for "all things individual" - having made mini pumpkin pies, or Pie-ettes, for Thanksgiving (turned out amazing by the way).  When rummaging around for the 8" square baking pan called for in the recipe (the one I've had for over 20 years, heavily oxidized and sort of trashed),  I noticed the square muffin tins and...

The recipe I chose had all kinds of weird comments attached, "amazing recipe, I doubled all the spices and added 1/2 cup of apple sauce it came out perfectly..."  Seriously, there were a dozen comments proclaiming how awesome the recipe was but then giving suggestions for making it better.  One commenter said, "I don't get why the author doesn't fix the recipe and repost it."  Because I had saved it in my bookmarks and I usually don't save recipes unless I've tested them, I decided to give it a whirl without altering much. After trying it once, I had to agree with the comments!  A little lackluster.  So, I slept on it, and this morning doctored the recipe a bit and tried it again.  I had some leftover granny smith apples from Thanksgiving Apple Galette, so made some quick apple sauce to add in.  It was simply a couple of apples peeled and cored, a little water, some brown sugar and cinnamon - cooked down for like 15 minutes and then pureed.

Preheat oven to 350 F - spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 Stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

cream butter and sugar together,  then add:

1 cup dark, unsulphured molasses
1 egg

mix well (I used a hand beater because I find it easy and portable)

sift together, then add in parts to the sugar mixture:

2-1/2  cups AP flour
1 T ground ginger
1 T grated fresh ginger
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground allspice
3/.4 t salt
1-1/2  t baking soda

You are probably going to want to hand mix with a wooden spoon at this point, as the batter will be very thick and dough-like.  

when well mixed, add

3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup applesauce

I had some hot water still in the kettle from the aforementioned coffee brewing session, so just used a cup of that and mixed with the electric beater for a minute or two.  No need to overmix, you don't want to develop gluten...

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in tins.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream if desired.

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