Fresh Ginger Gingerbread

When I was six or seven months pregnant with Sam, my boss at Gourmet volunteered me to cook a dish at a fund-raising event for 300 to 400 people. I was not thrilled. Even when I’m at the top of my game, that kind of large scale cooking is not my forte. But being pregnant really increased my dread. To top it off, the organizers of this gala charged me with making dessert. Of course! Of the dozen chefs working on this event, only two were women, so naturally at least one of us was assigned to pastries, where women predominate. Unfortunately, dessert is not my forte either.

I was rescued by my good friend and mentor Jean Anderson, who put me on to her recipe for gingerbread made with fresh ginger. It is simple to make, very tasty, and easy to transport and serve. It was also a smash hit on the night in question. The whole evening the other participating chefs–including a number of New York’s biggest culinary stars–spent more time buzzing around my booth than they did anyone else’s. The gingerbread was just that good. I think the fresh ginger is what makes the difference.

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup molasses
2/3 cup minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment

Makes 16 servings

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan, preferably nonstick.

Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses and beat until well blended. Add the ginger, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Mix the soda with the vinegar in a small bowl and add to the batter. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the flour by hand, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with flour. After each addition, stir only enough to combine.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool the gingerbread in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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8 Responses to Fresh Ginger Gingerbread

  1. Karen Gaylin says:

    This gingerbread is fantastic. I was looking for a way to use a large quantity of fresh ginger and came upon this recipe. I baked it for a concert reception and everyone loved it. Even my husband who is not generally a gingerbread fan polished off two squares. Adding the orange zest is genius!

  2. Claire Christensen says:

    I was a little afraid of 2/3 C of grated ginger but trusted Sara and forged ahead. The flavor was so delicious and with just the right touch of heat. The one problem I had was the long baking time at a relatively high temperature. I checked it at 45 minutes and it was starting to scorch. Next time I’m going to go with my gut and bake it at 350.

  3. Linda Robbins says:

    Can you use this gingerbread recipe to make a gingerbread house and how long can you keep dough in refrigerator before making cookies?

  4. Joan says:

    Hi Sara…..Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe…..I made it for the first time today – My husband was talking about his aunt’s gingerbread being great – but she apparently never shared it with anyone so I went to you for help in making it for him…..your recipe ROCKS! The flavor is divine! Can’t wait to include in my Christmas baking later this year! Joan

  5. Dorius Wade says:

    Your program is GREAT, I can wait to get out of the hospital try your recipes….

  6. Pat says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe as I LOVE gingerbread !

    Thanks you and will send another comment once I make this.

    Pat Rosa

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