Crazy-Moist Gingerbread Cake

The mention of gingerbread typically evokes images of little men with appendages begging to be bitten, but in our house it meant my grandmother’s gingerbread cake. Understated and straight-forward, this outrageously flavorful cake is by no means the prettiest cake you'll ever make, but is by far the tastiest. The top forms a burnt-caramel crust while the cake is dark and dense with a bit of attitude.

The heavenly scent of aromatic spices signaled a dessert of super-moist fragrant cake with big plops of whipped cream. This bold and zesty cake seemed a perfect choice for Dom’s birthday especially given his well-known aversion to ordinary, innocuous birthday cake, and it got the best compliment he has ever given to any cake ever; “it tastes like pumpkin pie.” And, we ALL know how much Dom loves pie!

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar 
  • 3/4 cup melted shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 2 ½ cups flour 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together shortening and sugar, then add eggs and molasses.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and slowly add to the creamed mixture. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, add boiling water. The water will make the batter quite thin.

Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until a straw poked into the middle comes out clean.

Cut cake in large squares and serve with freshly whipped cream. You can also add a fruit topping like candied cranberries or poached pears.