The Gingerbread of Summer


If you’ve read this blog for a while, you will know I’ll eat just about anything.

Goat stew? Bring it on.

Thinly-sliced pig ear? Had it last week.

Deep-fried milk and stinky tofu? But of course.

In fact, there’s only one food I refuse to eat. That wasn’t always the case. It seems impossible to me now, but when I was a wee lass, I wouldn’t eat ginger. This rhizome was in many dishes I ate growing up. There was nothing worse than biting into what I thought was a crisp water chestnut and finding out it was a chunk of ginger. I shuddered at the thought for many years.


I don’t know what dish turned me around; all I know is now I sneak ginger into as many meals as I can. I’ll even drink ginger tea (!). Isn’t it wonderful when we allow ourselves to change and grow over time?

But, back to ginger. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is in gingerbread, usually thought of as a wintertime treat. This light-as-a-feather version is summertime ready and perfect for a party where you need to impress. I mean, look at that crumb:


Don’t leave out the black pepper. It’s an unusual addition, but essential to the flavor of this gingerbread. The cake is good on its own or served with a scoop of spiced peach ice cream. Recipe adapted from this one by David Lebovitz.

Light-as-a-Feather Gingerbread Cake

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 1 hour

  Keywords: bake bread dessert ginger


  • 1 cup mild molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and flour a 9-inch diameter pan. Stir together molasses, sugar, oil and applesauce. Mix in cinnamon, cloves and ground pepper. Gradually stir in flours until well blended.

Boil water in a small saucepan and add baking soda. Add hot water to batter along with ginger and stir to combine. Beat in eggs. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove. Serve warm or cold.

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Q: What food would you NEVER eat? What’s the most unusual food you’ve ever eaten?


  1. Yep, I’m with you, I’ll eat ANYTHING!! These days the only thing I won’t eat is tofu, and only because it gives me REALLY bad gas. I love the taste (When it’s done right).
    When I was young I also hated ginger (And crunchy peanut butter, and avocado, and artichokes)…..but of course I eat ALL Of those now!

  2. I am a HUGE ginger fiend and do love that black pepper addition. i’ve done it in cookies before and it’s surprisingly perfect.

  3. I was totally the opposite–I’d gleefully bite into what I thought was a slice of ginger, only to discover disgusting, styrofoam-y water chestnut! So you know I am all over this cake. Bring on the ginger!

  4. When I was little, I actually refused to eat vegetables! Especially green ones, like spinach and broccoli. I think my favorite food was bread and butter :-O Thank goodness my tastes changed 😉

    Ginger is fantastic! Such a great superfood, I’d eat it in just about anything. I like ginger tea, too 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend, Jessie!

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