• Yield: 9 servings

  • Time: 15 minutes prep, 35-40 minutes cooking, About 50 minutes total

Moist, dark, spicy, but not too sweet, this is classic gingerbread. My addition of black pepper is because it was a constant ingredient in gingerbreads of the past. It sparks the other ingredients.

You could add two teaspoons of grated fresh ginger if you want even more kick. For a new take, substitute one teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder for 1 teaspoon of the ground ginger.

The cake keeps five to seven days, wrapped, at room temperature and freezes beautifully for up to three months. If possible, serve warm with dollops of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


  • 2 cups, less 2 tablespoons, all-purpose unbleached flour (measure by spooning into cup and leveling)

  • 1 generous teaspoon baking soda

  • Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 3/4 cup dark molasses

  • 3/4 cup very hot water (190 degrees)

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 large egg


1. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl or bag, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the rest of the ingredients except the egg. When almost frothy, beat in the egg and quickly add the flour mixture.

3. Stir only until thoroughly blended. Pour into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack in the pan for a moist cake. For a drier consistency, cool 10 minutes, then turn out of pan.

4. Serve on its own, with whipped cream, or present it reheated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Copyright 2001 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.