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Spicy Halloween Ginger Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups dark molasses
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
4-3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground mace
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tart medium apples, such as Granny Smith
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or baking
chocolate cut into small pieces

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

Combine the molasses, butter, and coffee in a medium-size saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, and let cool to lukewarm.

Sift the flour, salt, spices, and baking soda together onto a large piece of waxed paper.

Core, peel, and halve the apples, then slice them into l/4-inch thick slices. Line the prepared pan with the apple slices slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle them with the brown sugar.

Whisk the eggs into the molasses mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix quickly but thoroughly. Then add the sour cream, mixing just until it is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips, and then pour the cake batter over the apple slices.

Bake in the center of the oven until the cake springs back when touched lightly and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool at least to lukewarm before serving.

To serve, cut the cake in pieces and turn them out of the pan upside down, so the apple slices are on top. Or turn the whole cake out onto a large serving platter, and serve.

Yield: One 13 x 9-inch cake (12 to 14 servings)

(From the Farm House Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis, Workman Publishing)


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