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Gingerbread Cake-does one of these recipes seem better than the other

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Favorite...

http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/...

In the first recipe they use hot water, what if I used hot milk or cream, what would that do?

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  1. Both recipes use hot water. Adding milk or cream would increase the fat and protine content.
    The second recipe looks like a better one to me. Black pepper and brown sugar win for me.

    1. Better is in the eye of the beholder. The allrecipes one would be a lighter, more airy cake while the second one would be dense. For gingerbread, I'd prefer the second one--it seems like it would be more flavorful and heavy, as I think of gingerbread. It would also be a lot less sweet which I'd prefer for gingerbread, too (1 cup molasses and 1/2 c white sugar vs 3/4 c molasses and 1/3 c brown sugar).

      Adding milk wouldn't change it substantially but the cream would weigh it down. If I were going to replace the water, I'd use apple cider or orange juice if you want to add an orange-ish flavor.

      1. The second recipe looks better by a pinch or two, dark brown sugar, less flour for a moister cake, and as long as your melting the butter you could brown it for some toasty nuttiness, but increase the butter by a tablespoon, to account for the loss of whey. Add some very finely diced candied ginger to your cake for extra oomph. No need for the milk or cream; although it's certainly doable, but why; gingerbread is rich enough with the addtion of spices, extra fat is not necessary. Save the cream for whipping to top the gingerbread; I can't eat it (not really) unless I have whipped cream.;-)

        PS I liked her suggestion of subbing five spice powder for some of the ginger, adds a little more depth.

        Ever see the Gramercy Park Gingerbread recipe?

        http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/12/gra...

        1. definitely not that one from Allrecipes. white sugar? butter? no thanks. really good, dense, sticky gingerbread is made with brown sugar and oil.

          the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread recipe is excellent, and a tried & true CH favorite:
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          21 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yes, great minds think alike, chefj, chowser and GHG.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              ha! did you see the time stamps on our posts? not only thinking alike, but at the same time :)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Yup, and you're in a different time zone, but we were typing our responses at virtually the "same" time! The universe does come together!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Within minutes! We were all typing the same thoughts at the same time. It's amazing how the internet can bring three people, different parts of the country, different lives together like that.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Chowser, Pear Nectar works great in Gingerbread that is what i use instead of water.
                    bushwickgirl, I also use a small dice of crystallized ginger. I have tried the Five Spice powder but found that it actually muddied the ginger flavor. I think it was the Fennel flavor that did not work for me.
                    I

                    1. re: chefj

                      Your reply about pear nectar has reminded me that one of the BEST dessserts I ever had was upside down pear gingerbread cake.

                      If anyone has it (and I know some of you do...) Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Cook Book has a great recipe for gingerbread.

                      1. re: clamscasino

                        re: Claiborne, it's not the Walnut & Ginger Cake, is it?

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          No, I think it's just gingerbread. You could add walnuts though...

                          1. re: clamscasino

                            i was just curious because when i Googled, it turned up a recipe for "Walnut and Ginger Cake" but not for a straight gingerbread cake.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              hmmn, I just looked at my book and the copyright is 1961 so maybe the recipe just isn't out there in Googleville. Tell you what, if you provide a link to the google result, I'll compare the ingredients.

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                If there is enough molasses, you don't need brown sugar; white will just do fine (most brown sugar is just white with molasses added).

                1. re: paulj

                  sure it's not a necessity, but it's certainly my preference. IMO, the more molasses (and moisture) the better. you lose that little something extra with white sugar.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      why not just an extra tablespoon of molasses? But my measurements of molasses can be off, plus or minus, by that much. I use what's convenient. I'd even use piloncillo in baking if it wasn't too much work to grate!

                      1. re: paulj

                        "I'd even use piloncillo in baking if it wasn't too much work to grate!"
                        ~~~~~~~~~
                        yum.

                        my new favorite sugar - which is easier to work with, though obviously not as rich in flavor as piloncillo - is coconut palm sugar.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    A question about the Gramercy Tavern gingerbread: I'm in the UK where we don't get molasses. I do have an unopened tin of black treacle (this one: http://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/pr...), and was wondering, is this the same as the 'dark molasses' in the recipe? Or is it blackstrap molasses? A google search has varying answers, and since I've never tried either blackstrap or dark molasses, I can't tell by taste.

                    1. re: tavegyl

                      I'm in the UK too and you should be able to get molasses quite easily. My local wholefood store sells a few different types.

                      I don't know if you can substitute treacle but Nigella's gingerbread recipe uses golden syrup and black treacles or molasses so I'd say it's worth a try.

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Hmm, didn't know that. Well, I'll see if anyone knows about black treacle as a substitute, or just go ahead and give it a shot -- I feel like gingerbread today and molasses isn't available in the supermarkets near me. Thanks for the tip, though!

                        1. re: tavegyl

                          I've often read that black treacle is the same thing as US molasses. As to the finer question of whether it is more like the dark or blackstrap, I don't know. At least one brand of 'dark' claims it is the concentrated cane syrup before sugar is removed, where as blackstrap is the residue left over after removing the sugar. I don't use blackstrap, though I've read that it is more bitter.

                          I've used our dark molasses in recipes for parkin, the Yorkshire oat gingerbread.

                          1. re: tavegyl

                            I always use treacle in gingerbread - whether it's a US or UK recipe - and it's fine.

                            1. re: Athena

                              Tried making it last night before I saw your reply, and can confirm that black treacle does indeed work beautifully in the Gramercy Tavern gingerbread recipe. Rich, complex and spicy. The batter seemed bitter, but it baked up beautifully. I used the variation which uses half measures of sugar. For those who think it's ridiculous to measure treacle by the cup, I used about 350g. I had some with cream whipped with brandy and some banana-mango smoothie from the fridge (one of my favourite cheats). Delicious, though a little oily. I am looking forward to seeing how the flavours have developed the next day.

                    2. Recipes don't look that different. Most of the ingredients of the Splendidtable one are 3/4 - 4/5 of the other. I prefer the heavier spicing, especially ginger.