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Spicy Soft Gingerbread

5.00 avg. rating (93% score) - 2 votes

Other than the living room (where the pine-y fragrance reigns supreme), the kitchen is arguably the root of all good Christmas smells — things like vanilla sugar cookies, chocolate mint brownies, rum-eggnog cake, and spicy gingerbread. While I’ve been known to work my way through entire populations of gingerbread men each holiday season, I also love a warm slice of the other kind of gingerbread — the dark, moist cake kind flavored with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and molasses.

gingerbread

Spicy soft gingerbread.

Aimee Seavey

So where does gingerbread come from? The word itself originates from “gingerbras,” a word borrowed from Old French meaning “preserved ginger.” It’s believed to have been introduced to Western Europe by 11th-century crusaders returning from the eastern Mediterranean (since ginger itself originates in Asia), and it quickly became a popular treat at festivals and fairs. Allegedly, Medieval ladies often gave their favorite knights a piece of gingerbread for good luck in a tournament, or ate a “gingerbread husband” as a superstitious way of improving their chances of finding the real thing.

The spicy soft gingerbread cake we’re making today starts with butter and sugar, followed by a beaten egg and cup of that classic New England ingredient — molasses. Flour and spices thicken the dough until it’s thick like cookie dough, then hot water thins it out.

gingerbread ingredients

Making the gingerbread.

Aimee Seavey

The resulting gingerbread cake is light and tender with a delicate crumb and wonderful aroma. It’s the perfect Christmas snack cake, making it an excellent choice for breakfast, teatime, dessert, or…well…anytime, really. Santa might even prefer a slice on Christmas Eve instead of cookies — just don’t forget the glass of milk (or whipped cream!).

gingerbread

Homemade gingerbread — the perfect Christmas treat.

Aimee Seavey

Spicy Soft Gingerbread Recipe Links

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