Friday, April 21, 2017

Lighten Up with Gingerbread and Berries for Springtime

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By Cal Orey

Gingerbread is a semi-dense single-layer sweet cake that calls for syrupy molasses, brown sugar, and a myriad of spices. History tells us that it has a popular European history that goes back centuries. It made its way to America and is still a winner, especially during the holiday season. While it’s often served for Christmas and New Year’s Day for good luck, its dark color and sweet and savory flavor makes it an ideal goodie for spring, too. But it's time to lighten it up with fresh berries--blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

One autumn when I was on deadline working on my olive oil health-cookbook, 2nd edition,  I baked gingerbread (but it was semi-homemade since I used a box mix and added my own ingredients).  But later, I made gingerbread cake from scratch. My mother would be proud. And it was so much better not to forget the scent in the cabin.

Rustic Gingerbread Cake with Fresh Berries

  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • ½ cup European style butter (1 stick), melted (save a tablespoon for greasing baking dish)
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 organic brown eggs
  • 1 tablespoon each olive oil and  European style butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup crystallized candied ginger
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Berries (your choice)
  • Honey for berries
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In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, molasses, butter, and eggs. Stir until smooth. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and spices. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Add water.  Mix thoroughly. Using the extra butter and oil mixture grease an 8” by 8” square baking dish. Pour batter into it and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or till the top is firm.  Cool.  Makes approximately 12 servings. Garnish with a dollop of store bought whipped cream (or make your own by using heavy whipping cream and sugar and beat until creamy). Top with springtime berries.

Once I put the gingerbread cake into the oven and turned on the light I knew this recipe was easy as pie. It’s quick to make. It’s an easy recipe. It’s a keeper. When it was done, I sliced a small square without cooling it and it came out perfectly. The thing about this cake is that it’s versatile. Eating it plain, with whipped cream, or topped with 1/2 cup of fresh berries drizzled with honey is festive.  Don't forget a pot of tea!

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