New Year’s Tea Part III: Ginger Cake with Lemon Glaze

This ginger cake is one of my go to recipes because it’s very easy and extremely delicious. It’s exactly what I think of when I think of ‘gingerbread’ which always seemed like such a warm, comforting food when I read about it in children’s books. Actually, I can’t remember what book gave me that idea, but it stuck with me: gingerbread should be moist, spiced and extremely gingery, ideally eaten by a roaring fire in the dead of winter with some heavy yellow cream recently come from the local cow.

You may have to add your own roaring fire and cow, but this is adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe and you have to put in an absurd amount of fresh ginger. It’s actually best to make it the day before to let the flavors develop overnight if you can. The lemon glaze really enhances the ginger and is a nice contrasting element, but you certainly don’t need it.

Ginger Cake with Lemon Glaze

4 ounces fresh ginger
1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs, at room temperature

  1. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 3-inch round cake pan or a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. If using a bundt pan, thoroughly butter and flour the inside.
  2. Peel, slice, and chop the ginger. Process in a food processor until very fine. Mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.
  3. Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, stir in the baking soda, and then mix the hot water into the molasses mixture. Stir in the ginger.
  4. Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the batter. Add the eggs, and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too quickly before the cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.
  5. Cool the cake for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper.

Lemon Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

(If you make the cake the day before, only add the glaze before serving). Add lemon juice gradually to confectioner’s sugar, mixing as you go to make sure you make the right consistency. Drizzle over cake as soon as you like the consistency and leave it to dry. You can also sprinkle with candied ginger or dragees or sprinkles if you like.

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