When I told Mom I was thinking of making gingerbread cake, she told me she wasn’t a fan. Which didn’t surprise me a bit. She’s very spice-averse, particularly the warm spices: cloves, nutmeg, ginger. (However, she doesn’t realize that in the past several years she’s become much more tolerant of them. Don’t tell her I told you!)
Then Mom said something that set off happy little bells in my head.
“My mom used to make gingerbread and it was the best thing ever with canned peaches and whipped cream on top.”
Speak of the fruit-devil! I had just opened up a jar of peaches the other day and they had me hooked. They have me hooked. We’d just canned peaches again last summer and I vowed to actually eat them this winter. Damn, nothing better than home-canned peaches in February.
Now, toss those luscious, home-canned peaches atop moist, whole-grain gingerbread? Spray some fun canned whip cream on top?
Where do I sign up? Oh, that’s right. Here!
Scroll down to the bottom if you want to get right to the recipe, because I’m going to yammer about my trip to Maui, courtesy Mom and Dad, while I show you a bit about how to make the cake.
Okay, you grease and flour the pan. Now Maui!
This is the fam posing under the banyan tree in the city square in Lahaina. My awesome cousin Roxanne took this picture. She lives in Honolulu studying zoology. How cool is that? She came to visit for her own mini vacation for three days. It was so amazing to see her and hang out with her again! Plus, she was a mini tour guide. Kick ass.
Crystallized ginger is so strong-tasting alone, but it is really good in baked things. I hate to be a brand snob, but Sis (I think) got me this Harry & David crystallized ginger for my birthday last year and I gotta say, it’s really the best I’ve ever tried. Probably the only ginger that I would eat out of hand as well as bake with. Oh hey — don’t use a food chopper on this. I tried. The ginger just gums up the works.
This is just one of the spectacular views, this one at Wai’anapanapa State Park, we got to enjoy in Maui. It’s just gorgeous, everywhere.
Putting the batter together! Brown sugar corn syrup is easier to find nowadays, but if you prefer, just use regular.
You ain’t kidding when you say “a room with a view.” This doesn’t even show all of the spectacular view. There was also a plate glass window to the right and a lanai (patio) to the left. The hotel, built in the early 1970s, was right on the beach. Today, you can’t develop that close to the water — it’s ecologically damaging. So this is like the only hotel on Ka’anapali Beach with such immediate beach/ocean access.
Adding the ginger to the cake batter. No need for a mixer here at all. Just the two bowls. And hell, the one with the dry stuff doesn’t even need to be washed. Go ahead, put it back up in the cupboard. I promise I won’t tell anyone.
Watch for falling coconuts!
The money shot
O’heo Gulch, aka the Seven Sacred Pools. Past Hana, on your way to the fun road with cliffside dropoffs 6 inches from the one lane road and lots and lots of cattle.
I’d just like to give a shoutout to Mom and Dad, who took us to Hawaii and showed us such a jaw-droppingly good time. Can’t thank ‘em enough.
And go make some gingerbread cake and beg, borrow, or steal some home-canned peaches to eat with it.
Fairytale Gingerbread Cake
The crystallized ginger adds a bit of extra gingery zing. You can leave the crystallized ginger out if you want a completely smooth texture. Adapted with permission from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.
Yield: 16 servings
Time: 45 minutes to bake
Equipment: 9 x 9 pan
2-¼ cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour, or 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1-½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup molasses
¼ cup water
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup diced crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch-square pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Stir together the melted butter, sugar, corn syrup, egg, molasses and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the flour mixture until the batter is evenly moistened.
Stir in the crystallized ginger.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Mine was done in 45 minutes.
Serve warm, with peaches and whipped cream, if desired.