Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and 1 cup hot water alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Cut into 12 squares; sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with apple, if desired.
This is absolutely the best ginger cake I have ever tasted! It is simple and easy to make and loved by all. Doesn't need the powdered sugar or apple slices. Great for holiday gifts when baked in mini loaf pans.
We make this about twice a year and love it so much each time. I love how the molasses makes the whole cake taste so rich and warm! We typically serve this sitting in a shallow saucer of milk or a wee bit of half & half. It's great!