I don’t do nearly the volume of holiday baking that I used to, but it’s still nice to have a few sweet treats on hand, for visitors, and for a little something with tea. This very festive version of gingerbread appealed to me, so I tweaked it, just a little…This is a classic gingerbread recipe, with the flavor spiced up by the addition of fresh, grated gingeroot and black pepper. I added a little more holiday seasoning by incorporating diced candied ginger and orange peel to the cranberry sauce component of the recipe. It bakes up perfectly sweet and sticky, with a jolt of tart from the cranberries. If you make it in a square tin you can serve it in small squares, which would look very lovely on a cookie tray. Or, bake it in a round tin and serve it like cake, with a drift of softly whipped cream alongside. Either way it will be a great addition to your baking repertoire.
- 8 ounces fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 2 tablespoons diced, candied ginger
- 1 tablespoon diced, candied orange peel
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated, fresh gingeroot
- In a medium, heavy saucepan, mix together the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, candied ginger, and candied peel. Stir over medium heat until a thick, syrupy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. You should have about half the cranberries broken down, and half intact. Pour into a shallow bowl and let cool while you prepare the gingerbread batter.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square or round tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup, and molasses over medium heat. Warm the mixture only enough to melt the butter, do not boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and black pepper. Beat in the butter-maple syrup mixture, then beat in the eggs. Stir in the grated fresh gingeroot.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop large spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce onto the surface of the cake batter. With a long knife, swirl through the batter, as in marbling a cake. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake until the top of the cake is firm, and a tester comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before cutting and serving.