Gingerbread to get me through.

I’ve been bedridden since Monday and probably will have to stay put for another day or two—I had another epidural steroid shot this week and man, oh, man I do not fare well with those shots.  I can’t stand up straight, can’t lie anyways but flat on my back, and certainly can’t cook.

I’m thankful, however, for a few things that are getting me through it all: Jimmy has been wonderful–waiting on me hand and foot.  And to stop from being insanely bored, I spent a lot of time futzing around with the HTML of the site and am quite pleased with the new Caviar and Codfish layout (please let me know what you think!).  Then there’s the handful of recipe posts that I’ve got sitting on the back burner, just waiting to be written and the photos to be uploaded.  These posts (along-with a few Tivo’d cooking shows—Jamie at Home, Mexico: One Plate at a Time—that I haven’t had the time to watch until now) should keep me busy.  And finally, there’s gingerbread.  I knew that after my shot, the chances of being laid out were pretty great, so I made sure to bake something this weekend.  And something is right.  This gingerbread is warm, spicy, and not too sweet—the perfect treat to get me through.

While this gingerbread is certainly healing, I can also imagine it for a sophisticated tea-party treat.  Less sweet than your holiday gingerbread, using only a small amount of brown sugar and molasses, this cake focuses more on buttery moistness and its dominating fresh ginger flavor. The pear to use in this cake should be firm but fragrant, so it keeps its shape while baking but also has a sweet pear taste.  Pair it with a nice oolong, break out your good tea set, and you’ve got the blueprint for a perfect, breezy autumn afternoon.

Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake

Makes one 9-in cake//from Gourmet, October ’08

Anyone notice the picture of this cake in Gourment Magazine?  It was a flat cake with the pear bits on the bottom – not how the cake comes out when made according to the magazine’s directions.  What’s up with that?  Am I missing something?

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated peeled ginger
  • 1 Bosc pear

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, knocking out excess. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Melt butter with water.

Beat together brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well. Beat in flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Add butter mixture and ginger, beating just until smooth. Pour into cake pan.

Peel pear and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Scatter over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly.

27 thoughts on “Gingerbread to get me through.”

  1. I like the layout! I need to get cracking on a new code for mine too. But I need a big glass of champagne before I tackle that… I hope you feel better girl 🙂

  2. Sorry you are not feeling so well, but thanks for sharing the cooking love. I can smell the gingery goodness right through your photos!

  3. Oh yum! That cake would make me feel better, no matter what ailed me. I’ve made something similar in a bundt pan, and added candied ginger nibs. There’s just something wonderful about pears and ginger together.

  4. ahhhh you have to move closer sis! I’d come by to do some waiting on hand and foot in order to get some nice homemade food! Your pictures are giving me some inspiration, but I’m afraid I may live on mac and cheese for the rest of my life! haha Hope you are feeling better soon 🙂

  5. Man, that sounds grim. Your back, that is. Not the cake! It sounds and looks amazing. I’d like it drizzled with custard please. 🙂

  6. Hey Robin!

    Just stopped by to say hello and wish you well. I’m terrified of shots, so my heart goes out to you. But you bake a mighty fine-looking gingerbread, and your powers of prediction are excellent.

    I like the new layout! It feels fresh and new and wonderful.

    Hope you are up and about very, very soon.

  7. This looks so warm and comforting – perfect for a rainy fall afternoon. (Or a sunny fall morning, or a starry fall midnight . . . 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this recipe; all well wishes for a speedy recovery!

  8. The site looks great! Sorry I haven’t been around in a while… it appears that you had disappeared from my Reader. I’ve re-added you so I can see what you’re up to 🙂

    This gingerbread cake looks delish. I believe I did one last year that had apple chunks in it but I hadn’t thought of pear!

  9. Oh my goodness! That ginger bread looks incredible. I adore ginger – it has such a soothing quality and I’ve also found it is the only flavour I crave when I’m feeling a little under the weather, it has healing properties I am sure of it!

  10. Hi! I just came across your blog while looking for chestnut recipes (will be trying out that soup you posted), and spent quite a bit of time looking around at your other recipes. This is such a beautiful site! I really love it. Anyway, since i saw you mention that you recently changed some of the code, I just wanted to let you know that I love the look. Will definitely keep coming back!

  11. This gingerbread was recommended to me by Jamessal, who loves it. My fourteen-year-old daughter made it for us yesterday, and we had it for tea. We all were so impressed, thank you very much for the recipe. I like the spicy-hotness and as you said, it’s not too sweet. We live in Norway, and I couldn’t get hold of allspice, nor molasses but for that we used “dark syrup” which tasted fairly similar. I’m getting my mother to send some allspice for next time. It looks exactly like the photograph which is very satisfying for my daughter the cook!

  12. Ah, now I see you know Jamessal. I’ll have to get his book. I hope you don’t get any spam here; you should hear the swearing that goes on over at Language Hat when he sees all the spam.

  13. Damn straight she KNOWS jamessal — we live together!

    ” I’ll have to get his book.”

    My book! Hat gave it a little plug about a year ago:

    I’m of course terribly embarrassed by it at this point; I hadn’t been writing very long when I wrote it. Then again, it’s unseemly to apologize for your own work (I just can’t help myself), and I’m not one to argue with Hat (especially when he’s paying me compliments!), and I still do think it is a fun story. Hell, I’d offer to send you a copy, but I have no idea what book rate to Norway costs. Do you? Is it cheap? Feel free to email me.

  14. Hi Arthur,

    Jamessal? Jamessal, who? I’ve never met the man, though I hear he’s a rapscallion. (Ha!) Yes, Jim is my own personal guinea pig and I’m so happy to learn that he’s been passing this recipe around on LH! Glad that you liked it!

    I don’t think you miss anything subbing dark syrup for molasses but I do love the allspice in there. You can make your own version of allspice by mixing equal parts ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a little less than an equal part of black pepper. Just mix up a batch and use it whenever a recipe calls for allspice.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  15. I made this tonight. I thought 1/4 cup of ginger would be terribly overpowering so I shorted it just a little and was sorry I did. What a lovely cake to make. Delicious!! Absolutely amazing hot out of the oven all hot, spicy and meltingly tender. Yay, thanks!

  16. Made this Saturday and it was lovely. Didn’t have quite enough molasses so made up the diff with cane syrup, which I think tastes like molasses but the hubby disagrees. My pears were at the bottom but i pushed ’em under the batter before popping the cake in the oven. Perhaps Gourmet did this too and didn’t mention it?

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