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Lemon Ginger Molasses Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsulphured molasses

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus extra for serving

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup whole milk

1/3 cup small-diced crystallized ginger* (see Cook's Note), plus extra for serving

Make-Ahead Whipped Cream, for serving, recipe follows

Make-Ahead Whipped Cream:

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch round baking pan, line with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, the molasses, and the 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and mix until combined. (The batter may look curdled.)
  3. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, scraping down the sides. Mix until smooth. With a rubber spatula, fold in the 1/3 cup of crystallized ginger.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick just comes out clean. Don¿t overbake it! Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely. Spread the top with whipped cream and sprinkle with crystallized ginger and grated lemon zest.

Make-Ahead Whipped Cream:

Yield: Makes 1 quart
  1. Place the cream, confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, creme fraiche, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed, until it forms soft peaks. Serve cold. 

Cook’s Note

*Crystallized ginger is dried, not in syrup. Make it ahead: Prepare the cake, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Garnish with whipped cream, ginger, and lemon zest.

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