Katie Rosenhouse, pastry chef at Olana in New York City, makes gingerbread year-round—not just at Christmastime. Her supermoist cake, flavored with molasses for a mellow sweetness, is excellent with wine-poached pears or a topping of whipped mascarpone and sugary, slightly bitter confited orange peel.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup boiling water
1 orange, zest peeled with a vegetable peeler and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch strips
4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
pinch of salt
How to Make It
Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the canola oil with the brown sugar, molasses, honey, eggs and lemon zest until smooth. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Whisk in the boiling water. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack and let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, Make the Orange Confit: In a medium saucepan, combine the strips of orange zest with the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until syrupy and the orange zest is soft, about 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the orange confit to a plate; discard the syrup.
Make the Mascarpone Cream: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the mascarpone with the cream, orange zest, confectioners' sugar and salt until soft peaks form.
Cut the molasses-gingerbread cake into squares and transfer to plates. Dollop the mascarpone cream on top, garnish with the orange confit and serve.