By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Media Services
February 22, 2013
Gingerbread, in its simplest terms, is a cake flavored with ginger and often molasses. In the Middle Ages, the cake was ornately decorated and even embellished with gold leaf. Today, we think of gingerbread as either a simple thick, dense cake or a cookie shaped like a man.
It's often a challenge to find a modern version of classic recipes. So it is with gingerbread -- I have always found them too heavy. But I love this Bundt cake from "Cake Simple" (Chronicle Books, $19.95), by Christie Matheson. I usually recommend simple glazes on Bundt cakes; with this cake, though, the orange-scented cream-cheese frosting acts as an excellent counterpoint to the spices.
Gingerbread with orange cream-cheese frosting
Prep: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Bake: 1 hour
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon baking soda
2/3 cup peeled, minced fresh ginger
3 large eggs, beaten
1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 12-cup Bundt pan thoroughly with melted butter; dust it lightly with flour. Tap out any excess.
2Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt in a bowl. Mix the molasses, sugar and oil in another bowl.
3Heat the water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat; stir in baking soda. Whisk mixture into the molasses mixture; stir in the ginger. Add flour mixture in four increments, stirring well after each addition until flour is absorbed. Whisk in the eggs.
4Pour batter into the pan; bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, 1 hour. Invert cake onto the rack; cool completely. Spread with the frosting.
Orange cream-cheese frosting:
Beat 6 ounces chilled cream cheese with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature) until thoroughly combined. Beat in 1 cup confectioners' sugar; beat in 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes before using.
Per serving: 637 calories, 32 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 59 mg cholesterol, 85 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 381 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
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