Fresh Ginger Cake

Fresh Ginger Cake

David Lebovitz's headily spiced cake, which Amanda Hesser wrote about in The Times in 1999, calls for a quarter-pound of fresh ginger. Mr. Lebovitz, who was a pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., has since had a long career as a cookbook author and blogger. But this recipe, from his cookbook “Room for Dessert,” is from relatively early in his writing career. Boldly flavored with just cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and, yes, a lot of fresh ginger, it is simplicity exemplified, coming together quickly and without a mixer. The cake — much like the recipe itself — ages well, its flavors melding and deepening over time.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 10 persons



  1. Step 1

    Position rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides, or a 9-inch springform pan, with a circle of parchment paper.
  2. Step 2

    In a medium bowl, mix together the molasses, sugar and oil. In separate medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.
  3. Step 3

    In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in baking soda, then mix hot water into molasses mixture. Stir in ginger.
  4. Step 4

    Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into batter. Add eggs, and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of cake springs back lightly when pressed or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of cake browns too quickly before cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.
  5. Step 5

    Cool cake for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert cake onto a cooling rack, and remove parchment paper.