Credit this one to Boulevard chef Nancy Oakes’s grandma (the recipe is based off cakes she used to make). Moist, spicy, and not too sweet, it’s just another reason to listen to your elders.
Grandmother’s Soft Gingerbread Cake
Serves twelve to sixteen
For the cake
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1 c. dark molasses
1 c. vegetable oil
3 lg. eggs
1 c. boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch-round springform baking pan.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon.
3. In a mixing bowl with electric beaters (or by hand with a whisk), beat together the sugar, molasses, oil, and eggs until well blended and smooth, 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended, scraping the bowl once or twice.
5. Add the boiling water and beat just until smooth. The batter should be thin. Don’t overmix or the cake will be tough.
6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet to catch drips.
7. Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.
8. Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before removing the pan sides.
For the whipped cream
1 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. In a mixing bowl with electric beaters (or by hand with a whisk), whip together the cream, sugar, and vanilla till soft peaks form.
2. Cut the cake into wedges. Transfer to dessert plates and put a dollop of whipped cream and a few sprinkles of nutmeg on top.
Adapted from The Cakebread Cellars American Harvest Cookbook, available online at amazon.com, $23.
Photo: Marshall Gordon / Courtesy of Ten Speed Press