Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gingerbread: The Cake Kind

My mom made gingerbread lots during the winter. It's one of those recipes for which it is easy to have the ingredients on hand, that comes together quickly, and tastes great.

When I started working on this today, I decided to use the baking pan she used. I was lucky enough to inherit it! As I buttered it, I thought of all the things that had been cooked in that pan: gingerbread, Martha's Chocolate Cake, spice cake, English Toffee, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, to name just a few. I also thought of people I connect to it, particularly my mom, my dad, and my sister Margaret. It's a heavy aluminum pan, made by Wearever, from the late 1940's or early 1950's:

My Aunt Betty and Uncle Forest (my mom's brother), who have two of these pans, gave us a pan like this when we got married 33+ years ago. They had to special-order it:

Mine has cooked and baked lots of good things as well, including all of the above. I connect it to my children and my former husband (good memories!).

Here's the gingerbread, fresh out of the oven!

(Oops! Two finger impressions in the center from testing it when it was not quite done. That's what I get for not using a toothpick.)

I modified my mom's recipe a little. I think it's normal that our tastes change and that recipes evolve. In this case, Mom's original recipe is excellent, but I wanted to add the freshness, flavor, and nutrition of freshly-ground whole-wheat flour; to lighten it up a bit by using unsweetened applesauce to replace part of the oil; and to add more spices (nutmeg and cloves) for a more complex flavor.

Gingerbread (Cake)

2 eggs
1 C brown sugar
¾ C oil (or 3/8 C oil and 3/8 C unsweetened applesauce)
¾ C molasses
1 C sour milk
3 C flour (I used soft white whole-wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves

Beat eggs until light; add brown sugar. Add oil and molasses. Sift or stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour milk to the original mixture. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350°F for 30- 40 minutes.

Serve topped with whipped cream or applesauce.

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