I always enjoy the variety of enrichment activities related to the gingerbread man provided by the teacher.
Gingerbread is said to have been invented by the Greeks around 2800 B.C. At one time gingerbread was made with breadcrumbs and sweetened with honey, but as it made its way throughout the world it was adapted to meet the tastes of different cultures. That is why if you sample gingerbread in a country other than your own it may not look or taste as you expected. It can be a bread, a spicy sweet cake or a molded/shaped cookie that can range from light colored with just a touch of spice to dark colored and very spicy.
In England and North America, they like to make Gingerbread with either treacle or molasses instead of the original honey. The British favor treacle which has a much stronger taste and darker color than the milder tasting and lighter colored molasses that we like in America. Ground ginger is always present and, at least in America, ground cinnamon and often times ground cloves.
Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cake
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2- 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup mild-flavored molasses
- 1 TB. orange or lemon zest
- 1-1/4 cups water or coffee
- optional 1 cup raisins
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 TB. fresh lemon juice
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. grated lemon or orange zest
- Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Grease a 13x9 baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, zest and cloves; set aside
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds
- Add sugar; beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and add molasses; beat until well combined.
- Alternately add flour mixture and water or coffee to butter mixture; beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
- Serve warm with lemon icing/glaze or a cream cheese frosting.
- Whisk all ingredients until smooth.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Beat all ingredients until smooth. Add milk a few tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency.
Consider this alternative: Guinness Gingerbread Stout Cake-previously posted
The cake is flavorful and moist, the perfect dessert for fall and winter. The most unusual thing about this recipe is that stout is substituted for the water or coffee used in most gingerbread recipes. I find it adds a lot of richness and underscores the spices.