Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything.
- Lawrence Downes
From "The Best Quick Breads" by Beth Hensperger (via Kim O'Donnel's blog at washingtonpost.com). My father would not forgive me if I didn't include his favorite quote from Abraham Lincoln: "I don't s'pose anybody on earth likes gingerbread better'n I do - and gets less'n I do." In fact, Dad will probably send me his recipe that uses fresh ginger, and I'm happy to post that, too.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace (Kim substituted nutmeg)
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup unsulfured molasses
2/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if you are using Pyrex or dark-cast metal pan). Grease an 8-inch square, round or springform pan or use an oil spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add molasses and slowly blend. Add egg and beat for 30 seconds.
Bring water to a full boil - 212 degrees. Add flour mixture in three portions, alternating with the boiling water and mix for 30 seconds on medium speed. Beat gently just until the ingredients are evenly corporated, only about 1 minute. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the center of the oven until the top springs back when touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake, turn it out onto the rack, and place it right side up to finish cooling.