I grew up thinking gingerbread was a building material. Not joking. I tasted my first good gingerbread cookies when I was 24 at a friends house. I got the generation handed down recipe and have made them every year since.
Only after reading historical cook books did it occur to me that gingerbread was actually a bread before it became a cookie (building material). The name should have spelled it out for me, but I am that slow some days. In any case I was intrigued. I love old recipes and I found this one that I especially like and have adapted for modern ingredients. It is a great coffee cake, Christmas party, office party, (me all by myself scarfing it down) party kind of bread with just enough sugar we should be calling it a cake. You will notice in the title I call it by the correct name but when I am eating way too much of it this season I will refer to it by the old fashioned name, Gingerbread. It just sounds better.
- 2 cups all purpose organic flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger or 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large organic eggs
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 cup milk
- Lemon Icing: (Optional)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, sifted
- about 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour an 8 inch square pan with 2 inch sides. I have used a bundt cake pan with success.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon zest, and grated ginger (if using).
In bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients (in three additions) and the milk (in two additions), alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. If desired, frost with the Lemon Icing.
Lemon Icing: Mix together the sifted confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. (The icing should be thick but still spreadable.) Pour the icing onto the center of the cake and spread with an offset spatula.