Gingerbread Cake with Crème Anglaise

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    10 to 12

Appears in

David Lebovitz, a friend and colleague, is the author of several dessert cookbooks, including Room for Dessert, which has this recipe for his famous ginger cake. In the introduction to the recipe, he writes, “This is the most-often requested recipe in my repertoire, and i’ve passed it on to many, many people.” He mentions that it frequently appears on Bay Area menus, sometimes called Dave’s ginger cake. I asked David via e-mail (lucky guy, he lives in Paris) if could adapt his recipe, and he agreed. It is simply the most delectable, moist, and ginger-packed cake have ever eaten.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cups/485 g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
  • cups/360 ml. unsulfured dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • cups/300 g granulated sugar
  • cups/360 ml. canola oil or peanut oil
  • cups/360 ml. water
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • cup/90 g packed, peeled and minced fresh ginger (see Cook’s Note)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten

Crème Anglaise

  • 1 cup/240 ml. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup/240 ml. milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup/50 g granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. kosher or fine sea salt
  • tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Grease a 10-in/25-cm (12-cup/2.8-L) Bundt pan, preferably nonstick, with the butter. Sprinkle the pan with a big spoonful of flour, and then tilt and tap the pan to distribute the flour evenly. Turn the pan upside down over the sink and gently shake out the excess flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. In another large bowl, whisk together the molasses, granulated sugar, and oil.
  3. In a -qt/1.4-L saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Whisk the water mixture into the molasses mixture and then whisk in the ginger.
  4. Add the flour mixture 1 cup/125 g at a time to the molasses mixture, stirring just until the flour is absorbed. Whisk in the beaten eggs. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then invert the rack over the top of the pan, and invert the pan and rack together. Lift off the pan and let the cake cool to room temperature on the rack. (The cake can be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days before serving. Or, it can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 1 month and then thawed overnight at room temperature.)
  6. To make the crème anglaise, in a -qt/1.4-L saucepan, combine the cream and milk over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. (Do not let the milk mixture boil.)
  7. Have ready an ice bath. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt until well blended. Slowly add ½ cup/120 ml. of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly. (This will temper the yolks so they don’t curdle when added to the hot liquid.) Then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the milk mixture in the saucepan. Return the pan to low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is as thick as whipping cream and coats the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. (The crème anglaise is ready when it registers 160°F/71°C on an instant-read thermometer.) Remove the sauce from the heat and pour it through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, and then nest the bowl in the ice bath. Add the vanilla to the sauce, stir well, and let cool. Stir the sauce every now and again as it cools. Once it has cooled, press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance.)
  8. Place the cake on a cake plate. Using a small fine-mesh sieve, dust it with confectioners’ sugar. Cut the cake into slices. Spoon 2 tbsp. or more of the crème anglaise onto the center of each dessert plate. Place a cake slice in the center of each plate and serve immediately.