Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ginger-Molasses Skillet Cake

“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened”  

― Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

There I was, longing for something sweet. Whatever I was going to make had to be easy, I didn't have the energy. It couldn't involve many ingredients, I hadn't been to the store in at least a week, probably two. The silent snow falling outside made me long for something homey and warm.

the batter

I walked over to my cookbook shelf. Opened one book, flipped through and put it down, too fussy, I concluded. Picked up another, no success. Just as I was about to give up, I picked up Great Desserts a neglected cookbook from 1989, that I probably scored from a thrift store, but who can remember? Almost immediately I turned to page 75, Ginger-Molasses Skillet Cake, under the chapter called Old Favorites. The picture was everything I was looking for. Homey for sure, along with ginger and molasses, I knew I had found what I was longing for.

before going in the oven

just out of the oven

I got to work. This was a fast and easy undertaking. I think searching for my molasses in the pantry took me the longest. This batter was finished just as my oven came to temperature. An almost effortless cake indeed.

This picture was taken on Wednesday 1/18, the bird is sitting on snow accumulated on the deck rail. The other photos below were taken on Tuesday. Overnight we had record breaking snow fall.

But what would it taste like? Would it be worth dirtying the cast iron pan along with a saucepan and a bowl? Should I have faith that I will enjoy it and whip up some cream to accompany my cake now? Yes, I determined. I should whip some cream because I always have a use for freshly whipped cream.

my little guy,  Lucien enjoying the snow

The cake emerged from the oven, the halls of my home wafting with warm spice. I placed the cake on the rack to cool. The smell was intoxicating. I waited all of 5 minutes before indulging in the tempting cake. I took a bite. Heaven, I thought. Moist cake rich with the comforting flavors of molasses and ginger. The edges crackly and chewy from the iron pan. For the second bite, I removed the cream from the fridge and added a dollop. The cream melting in my cake was a perfect addition, a fluffy and luscious element to offset my spicy cake.

birds in the snow

Life was good.

The End.

Our deck Wednesday morning

On Wednesday I had to push away snow to get to their birdhouse. This picture was taken before I filled their food.

The original recipe calls for a 12 inch cast iron pan. I used that size and the cake is on the short side, it's fine, but if given a choice I would use a 9 or10 inch pan for a slightly higher cake. If you use a smaller pan, just keep in mind it will take longer to cook. Also a note about the black pepper. I couldn't taste it in this cake. The cake is spicy in a very good way, but I couldn't tell there was black pepper in it. So don't fret about it. But if it scares you go ahead and leave it out.

Ginger Molasses Skillet Cake

this cake was inspired by one from the book, Great Desserts


1 1/2 cups (150 g.) flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup (150 g.) packed brown sugar, divided

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2/3 cup (160 ml) plus 2 Tablespoons molasses

2/3 cup (160 ml) milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

For Topping

powdered sugar-optional

Sweetened freshly whipped cream-optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium saucepan add 3/4 cup of the brown sugar, 6 Tablespoons of the butter, and 2/3 cup of molasses, stir over moderate heat until melted and well combined. Add the milk and vanilla, set aside.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, the 2 Tablespoons of butter and the 2 Tablespoons of molasses in a 9,10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter and heat the skillet. When it's melted stir it and remove from oven (use an oven mitt).

Stir the wet ingredients in the saucepan into the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just until smooth.

Right before you pour the batter in the skillet, using a brush or the back of a rubber spatula push the bottom glaze up the sides of the pan and distribute it evenly throughout the skillet. Then pour the batter into the skillet and bake for 20-30 minutes (it will take only 20 ish minutes for the 12 inch skillet, it will take longer if you use a 10 inch or slightly smaller pan.), until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't forget to use an oven mitt moving the pan after it's done.

Serve warm from the skillet with freshly whipped sweetened cream (if desired.) And give it a dusting of powdered sugar if you want.


Norm said...

I really like your pictures of the birds in snow and who ever thought of baking a cake in a frying pan.
Excellent effort on both

Helen said...

Wow, this looks absolutely delicious. I will definately be making this!

mjskit said...

What amazing pictures of the snow and all the birds and the doggy! Makes me chilly just looking at them all. Your skillet cake is perfect for this type of weather. The recipe and the pics just make it look like a real homey recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Jo said...

I am always looking for new things to make in my cast iron, this looks delicious, pinning it!

Veronica and Daniel said...

This makes me wish even more that I had a cast iron skillet! So yummy!

a joyful noise said...

I had to copy and save this recipe. I love gingerbread and this sounds even better.

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

What a gorgeous cake! And all that snow. I'd love for you to join my linky, Crazy Sweet Tuesday. The linky runs through Friday each week. Have a wonderful weekend!

Miz Helen said...

Your snow photos are just awesome, I really enjoyed them. I love that you baked your Ginger Molasses Cake in the Skillet. It is a perfect cake for a cold winters night. Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

sue @ cakeballs, cookies and more said...

oh sounds really yummy, and what great pictures!

Chris said...

Hi there, I love ginger in most forms and this certainly looks like something that wouldn't last long in my place. Your photos are adorable also and you have just about as much snow as we have had too. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Anonymous said...

OH YUMMY! Defenitely making this TODAY!

Pary Moppins said...

I have a recipe for a chocolate skillet cake that is wonderful and brownie-like; I am wondering if this cake is similar. Your pictures of the snow, the birds, and the cake are beautiful.

Miz Helen said...

Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a wonderful day and enjoy your new Red Plate.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

McVal said...

I'm making this right now, just put the cake in the oven. It smells incredible! How old is little Lucien? We just brought a pap pup home 2 weeks ago.

The Alchemist said...

Pary Moppins- I don't know if it's similar, this cake has a gooey bottom from the glaze, and the top has a cake like texture.

Miz Helen- THANK YOU SO MUCH! I appreciate it.

Mc Val- I hope you enjoy the cake as much as I do! My Lucien is 18 months old. Congrats on your new one! They are so darned cute, aren't they?

Amy said...

wow!!Looks Delicious.& I enjoyed your captures.... Thanks for sharing
Midweek Fiesta

Anonymous said...

that somehow remains me of a ginger cake and a pumpernickel bread combo :) and it sounds delicious!

Gypsymaison said...

I am always looking for new things to make in my cast iron, this looks delicious, pinning it! Thanks for sharing. Saucepan