Food Editor's Notes: Julie's sister Suzy got this recipe from her friend Barbie and it has been a favorite in Julie's family for a long time. Julie suggested it for a Chanukah dessert and so I made it in the test kitchen, with great results. This gingerbread has fresh ginger, and thus a nice clean spicy flavor, but it is tempered with the creamy sweetness of the milk chocolate. The cake has less molasses and dried spices than other gingerbreads. This results in a lighter texture and color and leaves the ginger flavor to shine through. Make sure the ginger is very fresh – you want yellow, moist flesh without any strings. I made this with milk chocolate chips, which sunk to the bottom of the cake – this wasn't a problem for me, but if you want the chocolate more evenly distributed, then do use chocolate chopped into smaller pieces. This cake lasts well – it can sit on your counter for days, but will probably be gone before that. I've been grabbing pieces on the run, but to serve as a dessert, top with a spoonful of whipped cream, maybe some vanilla ice cream, or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses (not black)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup water
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, molasses, and honey. Whisk in the egg and ginger.
4. In a saucepan, heat the butter and water until the butter melts. Whisk the butter mixture into the honey mixture. Stir in the four mixture until smooth, followed by the chocolate.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
6. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack and then turn it out and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.
Suzanne Weixel is a writer who lives with her family in Marlborough, Massachusetts.