Gingerbread

While we're proud to offer cutting-edge cocktail cakes and other 21st-century trending desserts here on our recipe site, we happily hold onto centuries-old classics like gingerbread. This particular recipe is a winner: with its comforting warm spices, tender crumb, and deep-gold demeanor, it's a welcome sight at many a harvest and holiday celebration. And it's easy: Just stir the ingredients together, pour the batter into a pan, and bake. Dessert in under an hour? Yes, please.

Prep
15 mins
Bake
30 to 35 mins
Total
45 mins
Yield
one 9" square cake, 16 servings
Gingerbread

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9" square pan.  

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

  3. Melt the butter in a heatproof measuring cup. Add the molasses to the cup, and pour into the dry ingredients in the bowl, mixing to moisten.

  4. Add the water or coffee, stirring to combine. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk; stir into the batter. Mix in the crystallized ginger, if you’re using it. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  5. Bake the gingerbread for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool right in the pan. To avoid potential gumminess, wait about 15 minutes before slicing. Serve naked, as is; or sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, or topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Ramp up the flavor: For even more moistness and zing, use grated fresh ginger (3 tablespoons) in place of dried ginger. Mix the grated ginger in with the butter and molasses before adding it to the recipe. For a shot of heat, stir up to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper into the dry ingredients.

  • To make whole-grain gingerbread: Substitute 2 cups (227g) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour for the all-purpose flour.

  • To make apricot gingerbread: Stir in 1 cup diced apricots with the crystallized ginger; bake as directed.

  • To make apple upside-down gingerbread: Prepare the cake batter up to the point it's ready to be poured into the pan. Whisk together 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Peel and slice 2 large, firm cooking apples, such as Granny Smith or Cortland. Dredge them in the sugar/spice mixture, and place them artfully in the prepared pan. Sprinkle on any leftover sugar/spice mixture. Pour the batter over the apples, and bake the cake as directed. Remove the cake from the oven, wait 1 minute, then invert it onto a rack. Lift the pan off, and place any apples that remain in the pan back atop the cake.

  • To make peach upside-down gingerbread: Prepare the cake batter up to the point it's ready to be poured into the pan. Make syrup by melting 4 tablespoons butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water (or peach brandy) in the microwave, or heating gently in a saucepan, until the butter is melted. Spread the syrup into the prepared pan. Top with 3 cups peeled, pitted, sliced fresh peaches or frozen peach slices (thawed), placing the slices side by side in a neat single layer. Pour the cake batter over the peaches. Bake the cake as directed. Remove it from the oven, wait 1 minute, then invert it onto a rack. Lift the pan off, and place any peaches that remain in the pan back atop the cake.