Make Ahead

Gingerbread with burned caramel sauce

November  7, 2010
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

  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  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

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Review
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.