Monday, November 12, 2007

November Molasses Cake with Fresh Lemon Glaze

I just had another piece of this lovely cake and here's the thing: it's delicious, but it's supposed to be gingerbread, and it doesn't taste like gingerbread to me.

This is Nigella Lawson's "Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing" recipe and I have to ask, where's the spicy hit? I even doubled the amount of ginger and cinnamon, but those flavors don't jump out at me.

Thinking of this cake as gingerbread disappoints me. But thinking of it as molasses cake makes me happy. So I'm redubbing this recipe (see title above) and enjoying its superb moistness, gentle sweetness, musky molasses flavor, and piquant jabs of brightness from its lemon glaze. It pairs very nicely with a strong cup of hot tea.

Just don't call it gingerbread.

November Molasses Cake with Fresh (adapted from Nigella Lawsons' Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing )

For the cake:
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsps. brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsps. light corn syrup
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsps. molasses
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 2 Tbsps. warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the icing:
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1-2 Tbsp. warm water, if needed
lemon zest, optional

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F and grease and flour a 13x9 pan.

In a saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, syrup, molasses, ginger, and cinnamon. Off the heat, add the milk, eggs, and baking soda in its water.

Measure the flour out into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until very well mixed (it will be a very liquid batter). Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until risen and firm. Be careful not to overbake, as you want your cake nice and moist.

For the icing, whisk the lemon juice into the confectioners' sugar first, then gradually add the water, if needed. You want a nice, spreadable icing, but one that's not too thin, so go cautiously and be prepared not to add all the water. Add in the lemon zest, if using. Working quickly, spread over the cooled gingerbread with an off-set spatula, and leave to set before cutting.

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