Serious Eats: Recipes

Baking with Dorie: A Spicy Cake for Christmas

I don't know how it got to be just five days before Christmas (and therefore almost the end of 2007—yikes!), but here we are. The stockings are already hung by the chimney with care and the carolers will be at the door any second. And by now you just might be cookied-out, having baked for the cookie exchange, the office party, the kid's school, a bunch of charitable groups or a house party—or maybe all of the above. So, this week I'll skip the cookies and give the recipe for what I think is a fabulous gingerbread cake.

The cake has all the good ingredients you expect in gingerbread—the spices, brown sugar and molasses—and more: as billed, it's got (grated) fresh ginger and chocolate (melted and chopped), but it's also got snippets of stem ginger in syrup (optional, but so good) and a luscious chocolate icing. I think of it as being quintessentially Christmasy because it's got just about every holiday flavor.

A word of caution: The cake bakes up tall and needs a true 9-x-9-inch pan with sides that are at least 1 1/2 inches tall. If your pan is smaller and/or shorter, don't fill it all the way (it might overflow)—just pouring the batter to the three-quarter mark should be fine. You can make cute little mini-muffins with any leftover batter.

Playing around: To make this cake even more Christmasy, when you add the chopped chocolate and ginger in syrup, also fold in 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped best-quality candied orange peel.

Merry Christmas to all!

About the author: Dorie Greenspan is the author of several books on dessert, most recently Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can also be found at DorieGreenspan.com and on the Bon Appétit website, where she is a special correspondent.

Photograph by Alan Richardson

Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread

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