Lee's Kitchen: A ginger cake for your valentine

This year’s Super Bowl party was the best I’d ever been invited to. Nine of us filled a lovely house in Griswold with a 65-inch television, incredible food (apps to begin, dinner at the perfectly appointed dining room, dessert at half-time), and, while I had wanted San Francisco win, the Kansas City coach got his first-ever Super Bowl ring.

Theresa and Paul, our hosts, served food all from Costco and everything was amazing: barbecued wings, chicken pot pie, pasta with sausage and Brussels sprouts. I made pigs in a blanket, Joan brought three pies, Rosa had baked a shortbread bar-cookie filled with a velvety chocolate ganache. Once I get that recipe, it will become yours!

I realized, too, that I hadn’t been baking much since the holidays and, with Super Bowl over and Valentine’s Day ahead, I thought perhaps some of you might be cooking that day. It isn’t chocolate but I love ginger, and this cake is easy and delicious.


East–West Ginger Cake

From Richard Sax’s “Classic Home Desserts” (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1994)

Makes one 9-inch single layer cake that serves 8 to 10


2½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoons each cinnamon and cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut oil or other mild oil

1 cup molasses

2 large eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup boiling water

¼ cup minced, peeled fresh ginger, or to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess; I use floured cooking spray.

Sift flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper onto a piece of wax paper.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, molasses and eggs and beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, until blended. Add sifted ingredients and mix just until blended.

Stir in baking soda into the boiling water; quickly add the batter and mix just until blended. Stir in ginger. Spread the batter in the prepared pan; smooth the top.

Bake until toothpick inserted in the center of the bake emerges clean, about 1 hour. If the top browns too quickly during baking, loosely cover with foil.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. With the top of a knife, carefully loosen the sides of the cake from the pan; remove the sides from pan. Cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream on the side of each wedge of cake.


Lee White lives in Groton. She can be reached at leeawhite@aol.com.


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