This is a dense, heavily spiced, gingered cake, sweetened with dark, treacly molasses and apples. Not for the faint of heart (though the title could tell you as much); serious ginger and gingerbread lovers will rejoice, however. The recipe comes from an old cookbook that was found by archaeologists in the Hendrick I. Lott House, "a living capsule of Gotham history," in Brooklyn, New York. The final measurements and directions below are Test Kitchen Director Josh Cohen's interpretation of one of the cookbook's faded, handwritten pages, which had multiple missing parts. Mostly, we loved the title and wanted to honor it with a cake that matched its name. —Food52
apples, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
Powdered sugar, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease one 9-inch cake pan, and line it with a circle of parchment paper.
In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the molasses, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, egg, and brandy and mix to combine.
Add the flour, folding with a rubber spatula until it just begins to come together. The dough will be thick.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the baking soda and baking powder with the milk. Add this mixture to the batter and fold to combine. Finally, fold in the crystallized ginger and diced apples.
Spread the batter into the cake pan. The batter will be stiff, but you should be able to smooth it out with an offset spatula. (Some pieces of apple may be peeking out of the top of your batter—this is fine.) Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until you are able to insert a cake tester and it comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.