Make Ahead

Gingerbread with burned caramel sauce

November  7, 2010
6 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

To me, gingerbread epitomizes everything lovely about that cold, dark end of fall beginning of winter time of year. The spices and deep flavors tell stories of cozy dinners with friends. When it gets excessively Novemberish out there, I bake gingerbread. I made some gingerbread for a potluck with friends once to which another friend brought some burnt caramel ice cream. The combination of flavors was astoundingly delicious! I've found the flavor comes in just as nicely if you make a burnt caramel sauce - and then you have an excuse to still add whipped cream. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

If you’re looking for a spin on a gingerbread, this cake is a great alternative to the ever-popular cookie. The molasses lends a bold flavor and chestnut color and a pinch of black pepper rounds out the fall spice blend. Let the burned caramel sauce soak in to the cake for a satisfying blend of salty and sweet and dollop with sweetened whipped cream for an elegant party presentation. - Natalie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Old-fashioned Gingerbread
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (unsalted), softened
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • Burnt caramel sauce and whipped cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar (raw or unrefined is best)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons plain sugar
  1. Old-fashioned Gingerbread
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 9X9" baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and spices).
  3. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth. Then beat in the molasses, hot water (carefully), and cream until frothy. Finally beat in the egg.
  4. Quickly stir in the dry ingredients and candied ginger (if using) until just combined. Don't over stir. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and pop into the oven.
  5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for a very moist cake.
  1. Burnt caramel sauce and whipped cream
  2. In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the 3/4 cup sugar and the water. Heat over medium, without stirring at all, until the edges have begun to melt and turn amber.
  3. With a heat proof utensil, begin to stir up the melted bottom and edges and keep cooking, stirring all the while, until the sugar has all melted, turned a deep brown color and started to smell just a titch burned. This should take 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of heavy cream - be careful for splatters. Stir until it is completely combined, however the caramel may instantly harden when the cream hits it. Don't worry. Return the pot to the stove top and cook over very low heat until all the caramel is melted into the cream and it is well combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and 1 tsp. vanilla. Set aside and allow to cool very slightly but keep warm.
  5. In a chilled metal bowl (or in a standing mixer) whisk together the other 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 Tbs of sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla until soft peaks form.
  6. Cut the gingerbread into 8 slices, drizzle each slices with a scoop of caramel and a very generous dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • aargersi
  • lime lassi
    lime lassi
  • Sagegreen
  • cheese1227
  • drbabs

25 Reviews

bh March 9, 2014
Wondering if anyone has had luck baking this at altitude (5275 feet)? Fabulous flavor, but my gingerbread fell.
Dylishuz October 29, 2013
Dylishuz October 29, 2013
I tried making the carmel sauce last night and needed help! I used a cast iron Le Creuset sauce pan, watched as the water gradually bubbled the edges of one side and a bit of the middle and then started stirring. Yikes, that's when all the sugar started to crystallize and dry out. What did I do wrong? Do I need a cooler pan? I used both turbinado and white sugar. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
fiveandspice November 5, 2013
That happens sometimes with cooking sugar. You generally just have to keep going and eventually it will melt again and turn into caramel.
Dylishuz November 5, 2013
When the crystallization occurs, does it help the process to add a bit more water to prompt melting? Thank you!
fiveandspice November 6, 2013
I think it might, but I haven't tried it.
phinneycook December 2, 2011
OK, if you want a really gingery ginger bread to go with a quiet rainy afternoon, make this now! We skipped the caramel sauce and had whipped cream on top. I used 1 tsp cinnamon because we like it, and also used 1.5 cups white flour and .5 cups whole wheat pastry flour. I was hesitant about the full cup of sugar with the molasses, but even if you don't like things sugary (I don't) use the full 1 cup called for.
fiveandspice December 3, 2011
I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know! And, I bet that bit of whole wheat flour was nice and nutty and just a little bit hearty. Yum.
love2cook November 22, 2011
The gingerbread sounds wonderful. Do you think it would also work as individual cupcakes?
fiveandspice November 22, 2011
I would definitely think so! You would just have to adjust the baking time to suit cupcakes, which is usual around 30 minutes, if I remember correctly.
aargersi November 20, 2011
We had this last night and it is absolutely amazing! The tidbits of candied ginger, the caramel sauce, well everything. We all ate big pieces. We all had seconds.
fiveandspice November 20, 2011
Yay!!! So glad you guys liked it.
lime L. September 22, 2011
This almost makes me crave a cold night. Will have to try it in the coming months. Can practically smell it...
fiveandspice September 23, 2011
Thank you! It's one of my rainy-cold baking day favorites! I'm sure I'll be making it soon as the days are actually growing shorter and colder here.
Sagegreen November 9, 2010
Usually I back off from the dark depths of molasses, but this is totally inviting!
fiveandspice November 20, 2010
It is a pretty molasses-y cake - I love that deep flavor. If you give it a try, I hope you like it!
cheese1227 November 8, 2010
I made Nigella's sticky gingerbread cake over the weekend as I had all the necessary variations on Lyle's syrup that she uses. Seeing as I am fresh out, I will be trying this cake next. Thanks!
fiveandspice November 9, 2010
Heaven's! It is never good to be fresh out of gingerbread cake! :)
drbabs November 7, 2010
Oh, so good.
fiveandspice November 7, 2010
Yes it is :). Thanks!
Midge November 7, 2010
I will be trying this for sure, w/ Toscanini's burnt caramel ice cream? Yum!
fiveandspice November 7, 2010
Yup, Toscanini's all the way!
cheese1227 November 8, 2010
Oh how I miss Toscanini's burnt caramel ice cream....
arielleclementine November 7, 2010
this sounds incredible!
fiveandspice November 7, 2010