Everything about this cake screams winter holidays, not only do the spices in the cake warm your body, but while baking it makes your house smell delicious and cozy too.
My previous experiences with gingerbread haven't been the best; trying to decorate small candy houses while you've had shaky hands virtually your whole life is truly an exercise in rage control. Eating gingerbread cookies dry and flavorless, or so hard you worry your teeth will crack, doesn't translate to tasty for me either.
Fortunately my trusty America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book comes to the rescue yet again with a holiday cake I'll be sure to make year after year. Warming spices, moist texture, and slight tang from buttermilk create a winning recipe with the bonus that it's very easy to make. Served warm with some whipped cream this cake is like a hug from Santa! Happy Holidays!
Recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Step 1: Gather Ingredients, Prepare Oven and Pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup mild molasses
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, then cooled to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil (I use non-stick foil).
Step 2: Prepare Batter
Whisk the flour, ginger, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl.
Beat butter, molasses, and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium-low speed until combined, 1 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the buttermilk until combined, about 30 seconds.
Beat in the flour mixture on medium-low speed until the batter is smooth and thick, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl with
rubber spatula as needed. Do not overmix.
Scrape the batter into prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter.
Step 3: Bake, Cool, and Enjoy
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. (Baking my cake at 325 F convection the cake took 45 minutes to be set, if your cake is still jiggling at 40 minutes and the toothpick comes out wet, keep baking until the cake is set.)
Let the cake cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. If desired, remove the cake from the pan, using the foil sling, to a platter before serving. (I like to remove the cake in the foil sling to a cutting board, cut it, then put it back in the pan with the foil to serve and store, makes for easy cutting and clean-up.)
Serve plain, with ice cream, or our preference, whipped cream.
Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for 2 days, I find individual pieces warm well in the microwave for a few seconds, top as desired, and serve.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!