“I’d made my special cream-cheese sauce to go with the triple-ginger gingerbread. I’d long felt that gingerbread, while excellent in itself, was still essentially an excuse to eat the sauce, so I’d always made twice as much per portion as the original recipe called for. Then it turned out that some of our customers were even more crazed than I was, so I’d started making three times as much, and we served it in little sauceboats. You got purists occasionally that didn’t want any sauce, but the slack was taken up somehow.”
After what feels like an endless string of baking fails, I have whiplash from this sudden reversal of fortune. I’m just going to tell you guys right now: the Triple-Ginger Gingerbread is amazing. It is so good it deserves its own food group. The food pyramid should be: meat, vegetables, ice cream, grains, and triple-ginger gingerbread with cream cheese sauce. When I first read the recipe, I thought it was overzealous with the ginger. Like getting the word “man” in Pictionary and drawing portrait of Tom Selleck in a tank. There is a lot of ginger in this thing. But you know what? It works. Beautifully. I am delighted to say that it tastes exactly like it should.
While I dig into The Bread Baker’s Apprentice thanks to my knowledgeable food-friend Jon, I thought it would be good to give my yeast a break and embrace the changing season. What a tremendously good idea that turned out to be. Instead of tragic sunken loaves of bread, I have spicy, sultry, mysterious Triple-Ginger Gingerbread for your rainy day pleasure.
I should also mention the host kitchen may be the most beautiful kitchen I’ve seen in real life. I’m puppy-sitting for my friend Laura today and I just couldn’t help baking. Look at this place.
I’m pretty sure the granite is taken directly from a dragon’s den.
Also: it takes like a solid hour for my kitchen to be useable. At least two until it’s photogenic. Laura’s kitchen just…looks like this. All the time. It’s like standing inside a magazine.
I just thought I’d explain now because once I start posting pictures you’ll start to stare at the gorgeous background and at least now you’ll know what you’re looking at. But enough ktchen-porn–onto the food!
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 8 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (if pan greasing) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup diced cubed candied ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Note on the Ingredients
This recipe calls for a little spoons of a lot of spices. While you could probably leave out one of them, I wouldn’t. You can really taste the complexity. I highly recommend checking out the bulk bins at places like Whole Foods or coops (or Berkeley Bowl in my case). You can pick up small baggies of the spices instead of spending $15 on jars of spices you won’t use up. I bought enough of everything (except the ground ginger which I already had) to make 3-5 batches of this recipe for about $1.25.
Cream Cheese Sauce
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk
- 16 oz (usually 2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature
Note on Cream Cheese Sauce
I was extremely unscientific with this part. I used half a pack of cream cheese and adjusted the ratio of powdered sugar and milk until it reached a consistency I liked. It is addictively delicious. Since I had Sunshine’s blessing, I just spooned on as much as I wanted and the whole batch lasted about 1/4 of the loaf (or 3 slices). To be on the safe side I quadrupled the quantity, but if you don’t think you’ll be eating 1/3 cup of sauce with each slice, you might get away with half the recipe here.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line long loaf pan with parchment paper and butter the sides. I didn’t have parchment paper, so I just went the old fashioned way and buttered and floured the pan.