Molasses and dark brown sugar quietly set the stage for this cake, with a blend of dried ginger, allspice, cloves and assertive fresh ginger taking the spotlight. This is not a shy cake; it's bold, spicy and, served with a silky custard that's also no wallflower.
This is a starch-bound custard. Normally, to avoid curdling, custards are heated gently until they thicken. In this recipe, the presence of cornstarch creates an exception to the rule: the custard must be brought to a boil, then boiled for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to properly thicken. Ignore this and you will have a weepy custard.
- Yield:Serves 8 to 10
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:3 hours
- For the Cake
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup mild molasses
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
- For the Spiked Custard
- 2 1/4 cups half-and-half
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dark rum
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 2 pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whole nutmeg
For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 9-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Line bottom of pan with a parchment paper round and brush parchment with any remaining butter on brush.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice.
In second medium bowl, whisk together molasses and boiling water until thoroughly combined.
In large bowl, beat together ginger, remaining 1 cup butter, brown sugar, and eggs on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the molasses mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as necessary.
Scrape bowl into prepared pan and bake until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto large plate, remove springform mold and bottom, peel off parchment, and invert once again onto cooling so top is facing up. Cool completely, 1 to 2 hours.
For the Spiked Custard: Bring milk to boil over medium heat in small saucepan or in (glass) liquid measuring cup in microwave.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt. While vigorously whisking, add 1/4 cup hot half-and-half, then, add remaining half-and-half in a slow steady stream, all the while whisking. Whisk in rum.
Add cinnamon stick and bring mixture to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding. Once mixture reaches the boil, continue to boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract.
Strain custard into large bowl and serve warm over cake with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.