Monday, December 6, 2010

Gingerbread Cake with Hot Orange Sauce

It is officially the holiday season. That means time spent with loved ones and, if you're lucky, logging some time in front of a fireplace or maybe a string of holiday movies. This season always reminds me of childhood--rehearsing Christmas music in choir, playing holiday tunes on the piano, playing in the snow (on occasion), and making gingerbread from the Samantha American Girl Cookbook. 

I haven't made gingerbread in a number of years--probably over a decade. But, a couple of years ago, gingerbread made a comeback with me. Specifically, gingerbread cake covered in hot orange sauce and vanilla ice cream. I was visiting friends in St. Vincent and The Grenadines and had the dish for dessert one night in Bequia. It was served to me at a hotel named (most appropriately) The Gingerbread. Ever since then I have literally dreamt about this dessert--which won't surprise those of you who read this blog regularly. I had no choice but to make it. Plus, gingerbread seems appropriate for the holidays, doesn't it?
I must say, the results were divine. There is something about the contrast of sweet, citrus sauce that contrasts so well with the heavy molasses and bright ginger flavors in the cake. The whole combination just smells and tastes like comfort. 

Because I couldn't find the original American Girl cookbook, or access the chef of the exquisite dish in Bequia, I went digging around the Internet and tried out some delicious sounding recipes. I found what I believe to be the best combination, and have shared it below.

Gingerbread Cake with Hot Orange Sauce
Gingerbread Cake adapted from the Food Network recipe
Hot Orange Sauce from Darra Goldstein's (inspiring) site
{Gingerbread Cake}
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fine salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon baking soda 

{Hot Orange Sauce}
½ cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
8 teaspoons corn starch
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
4 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
4 Tablespoon salted butter
1½ cups water 

{Gingerbread Cake}
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a 9" x 13" cake pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, coriander, salt, cloves and pepper. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together first four ingredients. Once combined, add room temperature eggs (this is very important). Then, slowly add the flour and spice mixture to the molasses mixture. Beat until combined. 

Meanwhile (and this is where the recipe begins to feel a little like a 5th grade science experiment), boil one cup of water over the stove. Add the baking soda and stir to combine. Once combined, slowly add this to the batter mixture and mix until just combined. 

Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly, and put the pan on the center rack of the oven. Cook for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (it took a little over 50 minutes for my oven to cook the cake thoroughly). 

The cake should be fluffy and fragrant. Let it cool in the cake pan, or--if you have one--on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled to almost room temperature, cut and serve with ice cream or whipped cream and hot orange sauce. 

To be honest, I didn't let mine cool for long enough and it ended up quite crumbly but nobody in my household complained.

{Hot Orange Sauce}
In a medium pot, or saucepan, mix first three ingredients together. Place pot over medium/medium-high heat and slowly add the fresh juice, whisking very quickly to prevent lumps form forming. Add zest and butter and whisk into the mixture until thoroughly combined. Add water and whisk together. Let mixture boil for 5-8 minutes, until reduced. Serve hot, over gingerbread cake.


  1. Wow, this sounds amazing! I've never had gingerbread cake, but I'll have to add it to my list of "must makes" for the future! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for reading, K o r i! If you end up making it, I'd love to hear how it turns out!

  3. This looks delish. Also, it reminded me of my Kirsten cookbook, which has a killa crepe recipe in it.


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