I love ginger. But gingerbread cookies? No thank you. They are hard. They are a pain. And they don’t really taste all that spectacular. Sure, a gingerbread house is beautiful. But I’ve always found that taking hours and days to make something that will get torn apart in seconds isn’t worth my time. I want to make something delicious. Something you will make over and over again. Plus, you can have cake for breakfast (just have a cup of coffee, leave out the “and” and you’ve got coffee cake).
I’ve always found gingerbread cake to be more exciting than their cookie counterpart. There’s a richer, more intense ginger flavor. Plus there’s that whole moist and chewy thing. Not hard. Not covered in sugar. Not too pretty to eat. Slice the cake, slather on some fluff or caramel, pour yourself a cup of coffee and dig in.
So I wanted to develop a gingerbread cake that was not only super rich and delicious, but also had a great ginger intensity. Not so much that you’re on fire, but enough that you get the warmth. Not overly sweet. A great combination of spices that makes it harder to choose just one.
For the spices, there was the usual cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg. But the secret is using root beer. There are a ton of flavors in that. All would marry well with ginger. And chocolate. Yeah, I threw some cocoa in.
For the ginger itself, I’ve always found the JUST ground ginger alone isn’t enough. There’s always something a little “off” about it. So then in goes the fresh ginger. Which, by itself, can be too sharp. But the two together, mixed with everything else are just the right amount. But never one to settle on just “enough” ginger, I had to add in some crystallized ginger…and ode to Ina Garten. Little burst of ginger heat. Yum!
This cake is incredibly easy to make. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Mix them together. Bake. No need for a mixer. No need for a handheld mixer. A whisk, a wooden spoon and a spatula are all you really need.
As for adding in the pears, I had leftover poached pears and I figured why not. And it was a great decision. Not only is there a beautiful pear wreath at the top of the cake, but the chopped pears in the cake melt into the batter making it super moist. In fact, this cake gets moister each day. It gets better as it sits. I guess this might last 7 days. But I wouldn’t know. It’s never lived to see past day 3. The pears I used were these: Ginger & Rosemary Spiced Poached Pears. Of course, you could always used canned pears, they’re perfectly poached to begin with.
I normally don’t fawn over my own creations. I don’t even like cake. But this was one of those recipes where I couldn’t’ stop eating it. Where I needed to make another. Where all I could do was dream about when it wasn’t around.