Fresh Ginger Cake

9 Dec ’11

Today is all about mem­ory of food. Between my mom’s fam­ily cook­book, the new artist-friend I am con­vers­ing about food with, and the fact the last few weeks have been spent with a stom­ach bug I am think­ing about food in all sorts of ways.

A lot of my mem­o­ries are related to tastes. Every­one in my fam­ily cooks. Our finest moments together are when every­one has a full plate. But like many mem­o­ries some are very spe­cific and remind you of a spe­cific sat­ur­day morn­ing where it rained so hard that you didn’t want to leave the house and made french toast instead and some are more soft and long reach­ing like this one.

Gin­ger cake feels like win­ter to me, the warm house, warm smells. Lots of bak­ing. This cake is an evo­lu­tion from my love of gin­ger cook­ies. I made it first when I wanted some­thing spicy and wild tast­ing but not the dense­ness of a cookie. It is my sort-of ver­sion of Crixa’s gin­ger cake for those of you bay area people.

I hope this cake keeps you warm and you eat it for break­fast with a strong cup of tea and an old lady you like!


from Epi­cu­ri­ous

  • 4 ounces fresh ginger
  • 1 cup mild molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup veg­etable oil, prefer­ably peanut
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tea­spoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tea­spoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 tea­spoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tea­spoons bak­ing soda
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Posi­tion the oven rack in the cen­ter of the oven. Pre­heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 3-inch round cake pan or a 9 1/2 inch spring­form pan with a cir­cle of parch­ment paper.

Peel, slice, and chop the gin­ger very fine with a knife (or use a grater). Mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cin­na­mon, cloves and black pepper.

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, stir in the bak­ing soda, and then mix the hot water into the molasses mix­ture. Stir in the ginger.

Grad­u­ally whisk the dry ingre­di­ents into the bat­ter. Add the eggs, and con­tinue mix­ing until every­thing is thor­oughly com­bined. Pour the bat­ter into the pre­pared cake pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed or a tooth­pick inserted into the cen­ter comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too quickly before the cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and con­tinue baking.

Cool the cake for at least 30 min­utes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parch­ment paper.