Moist and tender, this holiday cake’s flavor comes from a panoply of spices, bittersweet molasses and a handful of chopped fresh ginger. The bonus? As it bakes, it will fill your entire house with its warm and inviting fragrance, which is way better than any holiday scented candle or fake pine room spray. I also like to bake this cake in smaller, decorative paper baking pans (available here) and give them as gifts to friends and neighbors.
Make one 9 x 5-inch loaf
Fresh Gingerbread Loaf
- 2 1/2 cups (331 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (336 grams) mild molasses
- 3/4 cup (163 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) finely chopped or grated fresh gingerroot
- 16 tablespoons (227 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1 cup (236 grams) water
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Make the cake
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the interior of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, and grease the parchment paper; set the pan aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses and brown sugar, breaking up any large lumps of sugar. Whisk in the eggs until well blended. Whisk in the finely chopped gingerroot.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and water and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Stir in the baking soda (the mixture will foam up a little). Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the molasses mixture until blended. Whisk in the flour mixture one-third at a time, alternating it with the remaining butter-water mixture in two additions and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Whisk just until blended (over mixing will toughen the cake) and whisk out any large lumps (smaller lumps are fine). Pour the batter (it should be thin) into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
- Unmold the cake and cool completely.
Make the glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and citrus juices to form a smooth glaze. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for at least 15 minutes before serving.