It seems almost everyone is getting into the holiday spirit earlier than normal this year. We really all do need some cheer around here. We are all for that! So what better time to break out the holiday baking... This cake is a perfect snacking cake, or a fancy dessert. Really, there is no bad time to eat it.
It's a perfectly spiced, dense but moist cake that has a delicious not too sweet taste. Molasses gives it a distinct flavour and colour. While writing this recipe, we wondered what molasses even was. (and also the word is really weird but that's another story...) We found out that it is sugar cane that has been boiled down to a syrup and the sugar crystals have been extracted. There are many different varieties. We used a dark unsulphured molasses that is less sweet than the lighter variety. By mixing it with hot water first, it is much easier to incorporate into the batter.
Now, for the ricotta icing. Light, not too sweet, really a perfect accompaniment to this spice cake. It's like a cream cheese icing but more healthy and lighter in texture. But feel free to break out the ol' cream cheese icing, or even a simple mound of whipped cream.
This cake keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. Ice it before serving.
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & levelled)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
zest of one orange
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup hot water
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tub, (235 gr) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup greek yogurt (plain)
2 tbsp cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease a 8x8 square cake pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together until combined. In a small separate bowl, whisk the molasses and hot water together.
In a large bowl beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, beat in the egg and vanilla until combined continuing to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the hot water/molasses, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Avoid overmixing. Add chopped candied ginger and orange zest until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for approx 25 minutes or until the cake is baked through. Insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake to test if it's done. If it comes out clean with only a couple moist crumbs, thumbs up. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cool completely before icing.
Make the icing: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the ricotta and icing sugar. Add cream cheese and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the yogurt and whisk until creamy.
Cheers to holiday baking! xxDA