I wonder if the ginger gene is dominant? No, no, not the Prince Harry, Nicole Kidman, Ed Sheeran kind of ginger gene. The one that makes you love anything cooked with gingerroot. Whatever the science, the Kees definitely have the gustatory obsession on both sides of the family.
Every Christmas morning for 27 years we’ve made Gram’s gingerbread muffins. Don’t know where she got her subtly-spiced recipe, but because she was born in East Texas in 1901, I’m guessing it’s close to 100 years old. Through the years we’ve changed her instructions to suit the times. We’ve added more cinnamon and allspice. And substituted butter for Crisco. But the biggest change has been the amount of ginger we use. First, we doubled the amount of the dried ingredient. Then we added fresh. And last year we even included crystallized chunks. It’s been almost impossible to make the muffins as gingery as we’d like.
Then we found this intensely rich ginger cake. It’s so dense and moist it almost tastes like chocolate. The reason? It uses an abundance of fresh ginger, creating a spicy, almost piquant cake. We used a peppery pinot noir in place of water which was originally in the recipe. It adds a bit of depth to an already memorable dessert which would be a perfect show-stopper for a dinner party, particularly if topped with a caramel or lemon sauce.
Don’t know if we’ll serve this alcohol-infused version on Christmas morning. That might be a bit much (and what would Gram say?) But I bet Santa wants a piece off the plate when he comes down the chimney the night before.
- 4 ounce piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into 1 inch slices
- 1 cup mild molasses
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup red wine, preferably a spicy Pinot Noir
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. (Line the bottom with parchment paper if you want to invert it after baking.)
- Chop the ginger in food processor until finely minced.
- In a large bowl, mix together the molasses, sugar and oil. In a smaller bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper to combine.
- In a small saucepan, bring the wine just to boiling, then add the baking powder. (Be careful, it may bubble up.) Whisk the wine into the molasses mixture, then add the ginger.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients, stirring to combine. Add the eggs and whisk just until blended.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.
- Cool completely. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the edges. Remove the cake from the mold and invert, peeling off the parchment (if used).
- Optional: Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or other topping of choice.