This American Gingerbread Cake comes from the first American Cookbook! It is light, fluffy, and moist with the perfect amount of spice! Gingerbread in its purest form.
Because of the origins, the mixing method is super strange. I suggest you watch my YouTube video on it. I’ve tried using the creaming method and it doesn’t come out as fluffy. It is worth the extra trouble. I promise.
Once upon a time in there was a woman who loved old cookbooks and American history so much that she started a blog called American Heritage Cooking. (oh, hey, Lindsey! ??) One of the first books she bought was a facsimile of the first American cookbook, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. This gingerbread cake is an adaptation of her Molasses Gingerbread.
I relied heavily on Anne Byrn’s adaptation in American Cake for this recipe. She did all the heavy lifting. I just tweaked it. [Side Bar: if you don’t have her cookbook, you need it. It’s delightful. I’ve read it cover-to-cover.]
Flash forward to that same cookbook obsessed woman in 2017. She is now a pastry chef in a NYC fine dining restaurant and she uses this old fashioned American gingerbread cake as the base for a poached pear dessert. It is still one of my favorite desserts that I’ve made.
Whether you frost this cake with cream cheese buttercream like I did here or you serve it with a poached pear, warm caramel and ice cream, you can’t go wrong! This American Gingerbread cake will make all your winter blues disappear.
Cream Cheese Frosting, Optional
- Dissolve salt and soda in boiling water, set aside.
- Butter an 8 inch square baking dish.
- Whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the molasses and eggs until smooth. Add the butter and sugar and beat until smooth. There might be a few streaks of butter left. This is ok and it is almost impossible to avoid some at this stage.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and water and fold smooth.
- Pour into prepared baking dish.
- Bake 350°F convection if you have it, 20-25 minutes or until middle springs back to the touch. It might still look a bit wet in the largest crack in the center but a cake tester or skewer will come out with clinging crumbs and no wet streaks. If you bake until it looks dry, the cake will be dry.
You can make this in a 9x9 inch dish, a quarter sheet tray, or even a 9x11 inch cake pan. Just be aware that it will not be as tall and it will bake closer to 15-20 minutes.