I had seen a recipe for a cake-like gingerbread in the American Girls Samantha cookbook but hadn't paid much attention to it because when I wanted gingerbread, I wanted a cookie, as in, a gingerbread man or bear or heart. Once we moved to Concord, MA, we heard the story of how New Englanders made gingerbread in the winter because molasses and brown sugar were available and white sugar was often difficult to obtain, not to mention being quite expensive. There were authentic gingerbread samples along with people making pewter musket balls and tanning leather and forging iron. Of course this meant I had to go home and experiment to come up with a gingerbread that looked and tasted like the “authentic” gingerbread we had seen at the colonial festival, but that was made with ingredients I could eat. The following delicious treat was the result.
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons powdered ginger root
¼ cup agave nectar
½ cup soy milk
¼ cup sunflower or safflower oil
¼ cup water
½ cup molasses
Stir together all ingredients. Bake in an 8x8 greased glass or ceramic dish at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
A slice of this gingerbread with a hot mug of mulled apple cider takes me back to an early December day when I was in elementary school and my mother took us to Scottsdale ? Village where they had Christmas carolers in Victorian dress, gingerbread (that we, of course, couldn't eat but could still smell) and hot cider. While we were listening to the carolers and sipping cider, my mother purchased six bear ornaments for our tree. So much nicer to have gingerbread that makes a wonderful breakfast on a snowy morning! And you do realize, of course, that this particular recipe calls for 1/2 cup soy milk and 1/4 cup water because I only had 1/2 a cup of soy milk the first time I made it and I needed 3/4 cup liquid in addition to the oil and liquid sweetener. It came out so well, I decided not to mess with it, but then, you see, because I cannot help but tinker, I made this with 1 generous cup applesauce (it may have been approaching 1 1/4 cup) instead of oil, soy milk or water, and it was delicious and apple-ey and you see, this is a quickbread/muffin so all those rules apply. Don't over mix. The unbaked batter should be so thick, it stays where you put it when you transfer it from the mixing bowl to the baking dish or muffin tin. It is done when the kitchen smells nice and a cake tester inserted into the center most muffin or part of the baking dish comes out clean.