This is the most wonderful cake - spicy, fragrant, and studded with juicy chunks of ginger. I've also been known to throw in some currants as well, but just the crystallized ginger is absolutely knock down fantastic. It's everything you ever expected a holiday cake should be.
I've been making this recipe for years - as Texas size muffins. Then one day I looked at the recipe and thought - why not make this as an 8 1/2 inch cake, so I did, and it's just perfect. I use cake tin with a high side - 2 inches. The recipe comes straight from the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook , and I've never changed anything ( although I do sometimes do a dairy free alternative) - the spices are just perfect.
I've been serving this with lightly sweetened whipped cream, but I just realized hard sauce would work as well. My stepmother was a native of Baltimore, and she was a strong believer in serving hard sauce with just about any dessert - especially around Turkey Day and Christmas. I've included the standard recipe for hard sauce below.
This recipe will make two cakes - or one cake and 6 Texas size muffins, which can be immediately eaten or stuck in the freezer(hurray!).
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease 2 cake pans or one cake pan and one 6-cup Texas size muffin tin.
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree ( if you use homemade pumpkin, drain it in a sieve to make sure it isn't too wet)
2 cups brown sugar ( one box)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup applesauce for dairy free)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
3 1/2 cups King Arthur flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 1/2 t. cinnamon
4 1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 1/2 cups chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup currants ( optional)
In mixer bowl, place pumpkin, sugar, and melted butter. Mix. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Stir in the apple juice.
Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix well.
Fold in the chopped sugared ginger bits ( and currants, if you're using them).
Fill cake pan about halfway up with batter.
Using an ice cream scoop of regular size, place two scoops of batter in each muffin cup of the Texas sized muffin tin. You should have just enough batter for both.
Bake about 25 minutes for the muffins, or until tops of muffins are firm, and about 40 minutes for the cake - again- the middle, especially, should be firm before you take it out of the oven.
Remove muffins and then the cake to a cooling rack. Let the cake cool at least a half hour before you unmold it. The muffins need just a quick cool, then they'll pop out nicely from the muffin tin.
Serve with whipped cream or hard sauce. The cake serves eight.
1 stick soft butter, salted or not
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
2 T. ( or "a good splash", as my stepmother always said) brandy or rum
OR 1 t. vanilla extract
Cream ingredients well and serve in a small bowl on the side.
Here come the holidays!