Photography Mette Nielsen, Food Styling Sue Brosious
Do you bite the little legs off first, saving the smiling face to devour last? Maybe you enjoy the arms first? Or is it better to go for the head first so they can’t look at you? Such dilemmas. If you enjoy the holiday flavors of a gingerbread treat but might like something that doesn’t have a face, try this gingerbread instead. And if you think of that scene in the movie Shrek, when the gingerbread man is being interrogated and tortured by being dipped in milk and subjected to other unspeakable acts, this is a much more humane dessert. This also is softer than the gingerbread folks, who often seem to end up rather hard.
This deep, dark, gingerbread by cookbook author Lori Longbotham, which appeared in Real Food, is both intense and simple at the same time as well as wonderfully comforting. (Not to mention that ginger is a great spice with healthy antioxidant benefits, stomach soothing properties, and more.) Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients—they’re mostly spices that can be measured very quickly. Serve the gingerbread with whipped cream or ice cream. And there won’t be any dilemma about which side to sink your fork into first.
Very Gingery Gingerbread
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1¼ c. sugar
½ c. crystallized ginger slices
¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 c. dark molasses
1 c. very hot water
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper in a medium bowl. Process sugar and crystallized ginger in a food processor until ginger is finely ground.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together butter, sugar mixture, and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Whisk together molasses and hot water in a 4-cup glass measure or a bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture alternating with molasses mixture in 3 batches, beating just until combined well.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and is firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and let cool completely. Just before serving, lightly dust cake with confectioners’ sugar.
Nutrition info (per serving) Gingerbread: CALORIES 503 (138 from fat); FAT 15g (sat. 9g); CHOL 79mg; SODIUM 281mg; CARB 87g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 5g