Amy Scherber's mother loved to bake gingerbread, especially during the winter months, when the sweet, spicy aroma would fill the kitchen and warm the entire house. Years later, Amy, who is the owner of Amy's Bread in New York City and the author of this week's Cook the Book selection, The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread, attempted to recreate her mother's recipe from memory.
She tried out countless variations, but they were all either "too sweet, not spicy enough, or tasted too strong of molasses." Finally, she came up with this version, which is drizzled with lemon sauce and topped with fresh whipped cream.
If you don't have a mini Bundt pan, the gingerbread can also be baked in a nine-inch square pan: grease the pan, pour in the batter, and bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a thin bladed knife poked into the center comes out clean. Cut the cake into squares and serve.
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- For the gingerbread cakes:
- 2 cups (290 g/10.23 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (71 g/2.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup (50 g/1.76 oz) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup (255 g/9 oz) molasses, dark
- 3/4 cup (170 g/6 oz) water, hot
- For the lemon sauce:
- 5/8 cup (125 g/4.4 oz) sugar
- 1 large egg
- Juice of one large lemon
- 3 tablespoons (42 g/1.5 oz) boiling water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (1 stick/113 g/4 oz) unsalted butter, cold
- For the whipped cream:
- 1/2 cup (116 g/4.09 oz) heavy cream, cold
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Prepare the gingerbread cakes: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease the pans with softened butter, or spray with nonstick spray.
Sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper.
In a small bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute or until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and beat again for 1 minute or until light in color. Add the egg and beat for another minute until it's well combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour the molasses into the bowl slowly, beating all the while.
Add half of the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold together again. Pour in the hot water and fold gently just until the water is well incorporated and there are no more thick lumps of batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the pans. A heaping 1/2-cup measure will fill each mold almost to the top. Bake for about 16 to 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the individual cakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then tip out on a wire rack to finish cooling. The cakes are delicious served slightly warm from the oven.
While the cakes are baking, prepare the Lemon Sauce: In a small bowl add the sugar, egg, lemon juice, the boiling water, and the zest, and whisk together. Cook the mixture over a pan of simmering water at medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, whisking often. Strain the sauce to remove the lemon zest. After the sauce has cooled slightly, whisk in pieces of the diced cold butter to thicken it. If you make the sauce before you are ready to use it, place the plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep a skin from forming. Leftovers can be chilled and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Prepare the whipped cream: In a medium bowl combine the cold cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar. With an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Do not overwhip. Keep the cream chilled until ready to serve.
To serve, place a little gingerbread Bundt cake on a dessert plate. Spoon the lemon sauce over the top of the cake so it drips down both sides of the ring and onto the plate. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve. This makes a great winter dessert. Store any leftover cake at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic.