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Citrus & Spice

I promise this is not a baking blog. But when the cold weather hits, I love to have the oven on more than usual. This recipe will definitely fill your home and your palate with its warm, heavenly aroma. I always like to find the bright side (aka the healthy benefits) while indulging in sweets and I think the quarter pound of fresh ginger in this cake does the trick. I was nervous about using so much of something so strong, but the finished product was well balanced—a warm zip, not spicy hot.

Ginger Cake with Lemon Creme Anglaise

Ginger Cake with Lemon Crème Anglaise

The recipe was adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz, whose recipes I absolutely adore. He suggests serving this cake with plum compote or lemon curd. I chose to pair it with a lemon crème anglaise since I love the combination of citrus and spice. The cake is wonderful on its own as well. I recommend using a microplane or heavy duty food processor to mince the ginger, as it will help keep the fibrous ginger strings from getting into the cake (I found this out the hard way!).

Ginger Cake

Ginger Cake


  • 1 cup mild molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 large eggs


Preheat oven to 350. Grease sides and bottom of 9 inch springform pan and then line bottom with parchment (can substitute a cake pan if it has 2 inch high sides).

In a very large bowl, mix together molasses, sugar and oil. Set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. While the water is heating, whisk together flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper in a separate bowl. When the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Add water mixture to wet ingredients, then add the chopped ginger. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet, beat in the eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and top of cake springs back when lightly pressed. Leave in pan to cool completely. After cake has cooled, run a knife around the pan to loosen, invert cake and peel off parchment. Serve with sauce below.

Lemon Crème AnglaiseGinger Cake with Lemon Creme Anglaise


  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 6 large egg yokes


Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice, set a medium bowl on top and a mesh strainer across the top of the medium bowl.

In a medium saucepan combine milk, sugar, salt and zest. Heat the mixture over low heat, dissolving the sugar and steeping the zest. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yokes in a small bowl. Temper the yokes by slowly adding 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Then add the yokes to the rest of the milk in the saucepan, whisking all the while. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (or heatproof spatula), until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Do not boil.

Strain the sauce through the mesh strainer into the bowl on the ice bath. Stir the sauce to cool it. After sauce has cooled, cover and refrigerate.