Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread remains one of my favorite treats. This recipe is fairly simple and straightforward. I added a few of my "secret" touches to make the depth of flavor even more interesting, but this is a really easy recipe for anyone who wants a nice gingerbread cake.

I think this will suffice for Michael's birthday cake as well. His birthday is coming up on Tuesday and when I quizzed him about what kind of cake he would like he reminded me that he doesn't really like cake so didn't want a birthday cake. Oh well, I'm sure he'll have a little of this.

It's topped with a very flavorful and easy lemon glaze and garnished with lemon peel and granulated sugar that serves double duty as garnish and kicking up the flavor of the glaze.

I always like to add a few drops of liquid smoke to my gingerbread cakes and cookies. I found many years ago at Colonial Williamsburg that the flavor imparted to baked goods by the old wood fired ovens just couldn't be beat. It's sort of like adding a bit of instant coffee to melted chocolate. You don't really notice that it's there, but you you'll miss it if you don't have it. 

This is a great Summer treat when served with some lemon or vanilla sorbet or ice cream.

1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup honey
4 or 5 drops of liquid smoke (optional)
1 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Make sure you grease the pan well as this batter will stick!

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg and then add sugar, mixing well on medium speed. On low speed, slowly add melted and cooled butter. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In another small bowl or measuring pitcher combine molasses, liquid smoke (if using), honey and hot water. Add dry and liquid ingredients alternating to the egg/butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix well.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake on center rack for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.

Lemon Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbs. fresh lemon juice

Mix together thoroughly and pour over cake allowing glaze to drizzle down sides.

Garnish with 1 tbs. grated lemon peel mixed with 2 tbs. granulated sugar and sprinkled over top of cake.

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