Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TWD: Gingerbread Baby Cakes

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan




This Tuesdays with Dorie snuck up on me. How did it get here so fast? It was Monday before I realized I still needed to bake these. I just wasn't into baking and blogging this day, which shows in the pictures, especially the final product - not what I had envisioned anyway.

This is one of those recipes I don't know if I really like or not; like the first time I made kale chips. Where at first bite you think hmmm it's OK - yet you keep eating more hoping to find that taste sensation that will hopefully knock your socks off, or at least wow you somewhat. The kale chips grew on me - these however did not.

The recipe calls for minced fresh ginger (as well as dried) which I did not care for. I did not like that it would stick to my teeth and make me feel like I'm biting down on something that should not be there. If I were to make these again (which I'm not) I would use ginger juice instead. You just grate your ginger and press through a fine sieve (or squeeze the pulp with your fingers) to extract the juice. This I just learned from Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge.

Maybe if they were called molasses baby cakes, because that is all I could taste, my perception would have been different. The molasses overpowers the ginger and there is not even a hint of espresso flavor. There are several chocolate recipes that call for a small amount of espresso which will enhance the flavor of chocolate, but not necessarily give you a coffee flavor. However this recipe called for a whole quarter cup! I thought for sure there would be a hint of joe in these little cakes.

If molasses is your thing - these cakes are for you! Don't get me wrong, I like molasses; I was just expecting more of a ginger flavor. I guess I have been spoiled by the delicious gingerbread my friend makes every year at Christmas.

Success meter (1-3): 2


Dried pears reconstituted in apple juice for decoration.


Yep - that's black pepper you see. This too was unnoticeable due to the overpowering flavor of the molasses.

One jar of molasses yields one and a half cups. This made me one half cup shy of the two cups called for in the recipe. I made up the difference with Lyle's Golden Syrup.

As with making cookies, beat your sugar and butter till light and fluffy.

Adding the exorbitant amount of molasses.



Fold in the dry ingredients.

I adorned two cakes with a star on top, two cakes with stars on the bottom, and left two plain.

I was hoping that the stars on top would have risen with the batter - not the case.


This one was baked in a glass ramekin. Not looking so very pretty.

I just love paper pans - especially for gift giving.

The cakes had wonderful texture. Soft, chewy, and moist. The section with pear helped tame the boldness of the molasses. These cakes would benefit with diced pear throughout.


If I had more time I would have adorned the cakes with a chocolate (or mango! mmm...) sauce and diced pears.

You can find the recipe for these baby cakes on Karen's blog ,our host this week.

Do venture over to Tuesdays with Dorie to see what others have done with this recipe.

33 comments:

  1. The molasses was a bit too overpowering for me too as well.
    I am on the hunt for a gingerbread recipe now!

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    1. If you can find Steen's Cane Syrup, there is a pretty good gingerbread recipe on the bottle (or can). Steen's is similar to dark corn syrup, but with a molasses undertone -- nowhere near as strong as molasses though. I've thought to substitute some in these baby cakes; the cane syrup is probably much sweeter though.

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  2. I didn't care for these either. I used the paper baking pans, but overfilled them and ended up with a mess! Yours look great!
    Carlene

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  3. Great idea to use pear. Its weird, the coffee taste was one of the reasons my husband did not like these. Maybe I used a bit too much. I want paper baking pans.

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  4. I like the direction you took your cakes. Very nice!

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  5. I didn't like the cake very much either. It was way too strong of a flavour for me.

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  6. We actually loved the ginger, but also found the molasses a little overpowering, even though we ran out and had to reduce it to 1-1/2 cups. Love your paper baking pans - where did you find them? We adore your pear stars.

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  7. I was out of molasses so used cane syrup. Made a big difference and I could taste the ginger. Like the tiered cake!!

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  8. Love that you did so much experimentation. I definitely balked at all of the molasses but went with it. Great post!

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  9. Like your idea to use pears! I use a garlic press when I am too lazy to finely chop ginger - I just peel it and I put it through. This way you get the juice and the pulp :)

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  10. Way too much molasses! Not a hit at my house. I do love dried pears--great idea.

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  11. Cathleen, you added so many different aspects to this recipe, I am impressed! I love the addition of pears, these fruits taste delicous with gingerbread cakes (I made a pear/gingerbread upside cake once, so I know that the combo tastes fabulous). Then the paper liners, I always have so much trouble finding them here and I love them for gift giving as well (plus they are so pretty). And your pictures are wonderful, they really show off all the work that you put into baking this Gingerbread!

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  12. I should've gotten some paper pans! I'll have to try that next time. I could really taste the espresso in mine. I agree that the molasses flavor was a little too much. The fresh ginger that I painstakingly minced kind of got lost. I wonder if using light brown sugar or even white sugar would help.

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  13. Wow what a cute idea to use the star cutouts! I love your pictures too. I was able to use these darling mini bundt pans for this recipe, it worked out perfect!

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  14. Very nice! I thought the molasses was too strong as well and I used the whole two cups! I probably would have loved your version, especially with the dried pear. When I do fresh ginger, I use a citrus grater.. It's a pain, but you get rid of that unpleasant crunchy ginger texture.

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  15. Very nice! Too bad the pear did not stay on top. Interesting experiment. And as always, your photos are wonderful!

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  16. For a last minute baking project, your pictures turned out really lovely! While I liked this 'ginger bread' it is not something I would bake for a group - think it has a very big flavor that my New England friend may not appreciate! Enjoy the holidays! Kristine Mika (louisawalter)

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  17. Cathleen, Loved the addition of the dried pear…I’m sure it was wonderful! I served mine with whipped cream and loved these little cakes! Your cakes look simply beautiful…I want some of those little paper pans! Happy Holidays!!

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  18. I agree, too much molasses in this recipe. Your photos turned out great!

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  19. Yeah I think that molasses cakes would definitely be a better name!

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  20. Your cake looks so beautiful, I like your pear decoration on top!!!!
    I'm agree the taste is too strong in molasses, probably sub. to honey or syrup? otherwise it's right the texture is very good, moist as well!!

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  21. Molasses baby cakes would be a better name! I actually liked them a lot. But maybe because I never get to eat gingerbread that often (my friends aren't into holiday baking or baking in general). I love the cute pear additions!

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  22. These baby cakes look simply delicious!! Soo very festive and we love the pear decoration!

    What a gorgeous blog you have here! As fellow foodies, we can't wait to read more form you! New follower here :)

    Chloe & Sarah

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  23. love all your photos. Your thoughts are shared by so many in the group that even though we enjoyed this cake I would not bake it for company...It's good to know what everyone else is thinking.

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  24. I bet the dried pear really helped to offset the molasses. Cute idea to make it star shaped.

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  25. I really like your final pictures and the addition of the pears! Please stop by my blog and register for the cookbook giveaway going on through Sunday! Blessings, Catherine www.praycookblog.com

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  26. How did Lyle's Golden Syrup work as a substitute for some of the molasses ? I want to repeat these cakes, cutting down on the molasses. Three things I have in the cupboard that I could substitute: Lyles, Steen's Cane Syrup, and Karo Light Corn syrup.

    Funny you should mention pear. I've been meaning to make this recipe for a pear-gingerbread cake; the pear is mashed and incorporated into the cake.

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    1. I only subbed 1/2 cup so there was no discerning difference; still I could only taste molasses. I really like the flavor of Lyle's and think it would make for a great substitution for most if not all of the molasses. Your pear-gingerbread cake sounds good. I'll also keep a look out for the Steen's you mentioned.

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    2. I can't take credit for the pear-gingerbread -- the recipe comes courtesy of Frog Hollow farms and I have yet to make it. With you 100+ cookbooks I think you know the feeling ;)

      Steen's definitely has a molasses-y flavor, though not nearly as strong as regular molasses. Based on your experience, I'm going to try the baby cakes with half molasses (need to use it up), half Lyle's.

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    3. Do let me know how it turns out!

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  27. Your cakes look great! I agree with the molasses taste and you didn't even use all the molasses!

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  28. Mine was definitely overpowered with molasses...but I used blackstrap...ick! Love the star fruit and tiers! You made up for the flavor with panache :)

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