A Little Sugar & a Lot of Spice

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It’s late March here in the Northwest and the weather is anything but predictable. One day, the clouds amass in a blanket of grey and the next they are pillowy white racing through a Capri-hued backdrop. And if that were not enough, there are plenty of days that provide both. But one thing you can count on is a crispness to the air that makes you feel alive. After a winter of hibernating, it’s a welcome notion to get outside, take a deep breath, and stick your hands in some dirt. More…

It’s late March here in the Northwest and the weather is anything but predictable. One day, the clouds amass in a blanket of grey and the next they are pillowy white racing through a Capri-hued backdrop. And if that were not enough, there are plenty of days that provide both. But one thing you can count on is a crispness to the air that makes you feel alive. After a winter of hibernating, it’s a welcome notion to get outside, take a deep breath, and stick your hands in some dirt.

After a few hours of tending to the garden, it’s time to come in for some tea and sweet tid bit. I can think of nothing better than a moist, flavorful cake with a kick of warmth to tickle the senses, and to me that means gingerbread cake–at least the dark, spicy gingerbread I make. The complexity of flavor defies the ease of which this staple nosh is made. So, I am off to the kitchen to whip some up.

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Gingerbread with a Kick

INGREDIENTS

Dry Ingredients

  • 220 grams of all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp of ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder

Wet Ingredients

  • 115 grams of brown sugar, add a tad more if you like it sweeter
  • 175 grams of molasses, I prefer dark but use what you like
  • 113 grams of butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of water

Prep & Other Ingredients

  • powdered sugar
  • butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • maple syrup, to taste

MISE EN PLACE

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and dust 8″x8″ square pan using butter and powdered sugar.
  3. Get egg out so it gets to room temperature.
  4. Melt butter, grind pepper, and grate nutmeg. If you grate too much, no worries. Set aside and use as garnish.
  5. Measure out all applicable ingredients.

STEP ONE
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix all all wet ingredients; stirring until smooth.

STEP TWO
Combine wet and dry ingredients until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and cook for approximately 30 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). Let cool for at least 15 minutes.

STEP THREE
While gingerbread is cooling, prepare cream by whipping until slightly stiff. Add a bit of maple syrup to your liking. Cut into 9 or 16 pieces and serve each with a dollop of cream and any extra grated nutmeg.

COOK’S NOTES
If made right, you should now be enjoying a stunningly dark, moist slice of cake that pairs well with whipped cream, ice cream, or all by its lonesome.

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