(Here is an old favorite I made again last night. Its been 7 years since the original post, so I thought I would dust it off and bring it out for a run around the internet world before retiring again.)
So, what was your first cookbook? The one you got for your wedding, or Christmas, maybe when you first moved out? Mine was a Christmas gift from my dear mother. The “Betty Crocker Cookbook” which is now missing it’s spine, is yellowed and stained with the ripply pages of a book that has had flour and egg wiped off with a wet towel. I still refer to it on occasion. Its the “new and revised” edition from 1978. (gosh, before lots of you were born!)
One of my favorites from that book is an easy, 1 bowl- throw-it-together version of gingerbread cake. Its easy, but I wont say fast since it needs to bake almost an hour. But when it comes out of the oven and is still warm, with a crisp top and soft warm, spicy cake underneath, it is wonderful and just says “autumn” in a warm, gently tone of voice. You can make a lemon sauce to pour over it. You can top it with whipped cream like we did at my moms house, where this picture came from. But me and mine eat it plain and warm. The next day it is still good, but the top will have softened and it will have lost just a little of its magic. (which is not going to stop me from eating a piece as soon as I am done here.)
As copied from the book, page 257
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour (I used half cake flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup shortening (I use half butter, half shortening. Yes, I cringe while doing it. See notes below).
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour square pan, 9 x 9 x 2. Or 8 x 8, which is all I had. Beat all ingredients in a large mixer.
I might say here, that I like to use my pampered chef measuring cup that pushes out the molasses. If you do not have it, use a regular measuring cup, scoop it out with a rubber spatula, then put the hot water in the cup, stir it around to get some more of the molasses out of it and pour it in the bowl. Another way is to spray oil in the cup before putting the molasses in it.
You only need 1 egg, which is nice. But, oddly enough, I was all out of eggs. I had given some away, had used the last 2 in pancakes and did not get any (0) eggs from my hens the day before!! Slackers. So I had to sit around waiting for someone to lay me an egg so I could make the cake and still get to moms house in time for lunch. It was getting close, but someone pulled through for me.
Beat all the ingredients with a hand mixer or your big mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the pan.
Bake until your straw or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. (probably due to my smaller 8 x 8 pan, it took longer, about 1 hour). Serve with apricot-cream topping or honey-ginger fluff. I have yet to try either, actually, but that’s what the book has.
It also says you can substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Decrease sugar to 1/4 cup.
You can use butter instead of shortening. I used a healthy version of shortening using palm oil I think.