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All I Want For Christmas Gingerbread

(recipe, Sara Perry)

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For Christmas Eve, I serve this molasses-rich gingerbread cake on a cut-glass cake pedestal surrounded with my family’s favorite toppings: Whipped Cinnamon Cream, Lemon Candy-Crunch Ice Cream, buttery-rich Hard Sauce, and for grown-up tastes, Peppercorn Winter Fruit Compote with Port and Lemon Zest.


  1. ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. ¾ cup sugar
  3. 1 cup dark molasses
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  7. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  8. 1 tsp. ground cloves
  9. ¾ cup boiling water
  10. 2 tsp. baking soda
  11. Powdered sugar for dusting, optional


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch straight-sided metal cake pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer set on low speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. On medium speed, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in the molasses until blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended. Turn off the mixer, add one third of the flour mixture, and beat on low speed until blended. Add the remaining flour in two stages and beat until blended, scrapping down the sides of the bowl between additions. In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and baking soda; the mixture will foam and subside. Add this mixture to the batter, beating until well combined. Use a spatula to make sure the batter at the bottom has been thoroughly mixed. It will be thinner than most cake batters. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish the top with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired, and serve warm.


By using different grades of molasses, you can alter the molasses flavor. For the mildest flavor, use light molasses; for a fuller flavor, try the dark as I have in the recipe below; or, for a rich, slightly bitter molasses, go for blackstrap, which can be found in natural food stores or specialty supermarkets. This recipe comes from Sara Perry's article on holiday desserts.