Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gingerbread Loaves with Lemony Glaze

About a week before Christmas every year, I make the mistake of thinking that I have the whole gift thing under control. I settle down and start to enjoy the Christmas parties and decorations…..until my neighbor stops by with a “small gift” for me, and I start scrambling to come up with something for her and the few

others that I’ve forgotten in all the holiday fuss. That’s when I’m grateful for those marvelous oven-safe paper baking pans. They are the perfect container for a small loaf, whether it’s pound cake, fruit cake, gingerbread or whatever little cake you’re inspired to bake. Just let it cool, wrap it in plastic and tie it with a red ribbon. It’s 

the perfect “little gift”. Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite little loaves – a gingerbread cake made with lots of fresh ginger and topped with a lemony glaze. Merry Christmas to all!!

Gingerbread Loaves with Lemony Glaze

Make 4 small loaves

Gingerbread Loaves:
2 1/2 cups (331 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (336 g) mild molasses
3/4 cup (5.7 oz/163 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (2.1 oz/60 g) finely chopped fresh gingerroot
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup (236 g) water
2 teaspoons baking soda

Lemon Glaze:
¾ cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Make the loaves:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Place two 7-inch long by 2 ½-inch wide by 1.8-inch high and two 4 ½-inch long by 2 ½-inch wide by 2 ¼-inch high oven-safe paper baking pans on a baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses and brown sugar, breaking up any large lumps of sugar. Whisk in the eggs until well blended. Whisk in the finely chopped gingerroot.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and water and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Stir in the baking soda (the mixture will foam up a little). Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the molasses mixture until blended. Whisk in the remaining butter mixture. Whisk in the flour mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (filling them 2/3 full) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the cakes completely.

Make the glaze:
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice to form a smooth glaze. Spoon some of the glaze over each cake. Let the glaze set for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator before wrapping the cakes up.