Gingerbread Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    9 inch Round Cake

Appears in

This gingerbread is dark and spicy, laced with allspice, aniseed, black pepper, ground coffee, and blackstrap molasses. Freshly grated ginger adds a bright heat, unlike ground ginger, which has a hot, sharp bite. Buy the freshest, youngest ginger you can find, and grate it with a Microplane (a grater with very fine holes). Grate the ginger over the bowl containing the wet ingredients so that you catch any ginger juice that falls from the grater. This is a simple cake that is best served with a dollop of unsweetened, lightly whipped cream.


  • Butter for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon whole aniseed
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground coffee
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Dry Mix

  • cups Kamut flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix

  • 2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (about a 2½-inch piece)


  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Rub a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. In a small sauté pan, toast the aniseed over medium heat, until fragrant and beginning to color. Grind the seeds in a coffee or spice grinder, along with the coffee and black pepper, even if they’ve been previously ground—this will ensure that everything is evenly ground.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients, including the spices, into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter, and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter will be thick, almost mahogany in color, and quite spicy. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake for 38 to 44 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cake is done when it is dark brown and springs back when lightly touched, or when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for up to 2 days.