Lemon and ginger are natural partners, so I added zest and juice from Meyer lemons, along with freshly grated ginger, candied crystallized ginger and powdered ginger for a triple ginger zing in this dark gingerbread. Cocoa powder brings a warmth to complement the zesty flavors. The warmth of the cinnamon and the candied ginger make up for the smaller amount of sugar than you’ll find in most recipes.
Have all ingredients at room temperature. It’s best to leave the butter and eggs out overnight. If you don’t, warm the eggs in a bowl of warm water and soften the butter by filling a bowl with hot water, empty it and set it on top of the peeled butter cube.
Ingredients: Makes 8 x 8 square pan. You can also make it in an 9 x9 pan.
1 stick butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup candied crystallized ginger, finely minced
3 Tb finely grated fresh ginger root
2 tsp finely grated Meyer lemon zest (the yellow part of the peel)
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt
1 Tb ground ginger
1/4 cup chocolate chips
½ cup boiling water
1 tsp powdered sugar to sift on top of baked gingerbread
Preheat the oven to 350◦ Spray a 8 x 8 square pan with nonstick spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper. I set the pan on the parchment paper to measure it and cut it with scissors. Butter the parchment after placing it in the pan.
Mince the candied ginger. Peel the ginger root and grate on a fine hand grater. Grate the lemon zest, using the same grater. Squeeze the lemon juice, measuring 1 Tb.
In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. I use an electric mixer. Add brown sugar and beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and molasses. Beat candied ginger, grated ginger, lemon juice and zest into the batter.
Sift the flour, cocoa, and spices together, and then add to the batter, stirring slowly just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, then scrape the bowl and stir again.
Stir boiling water gently into batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 -40 minutes at 350◦ until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake on a metal cooling rack, and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Slide a thin knife around the sides, and then invert the cake on the rack and peel off the parchment paper. Invert on a plate to serve. Sift a spoonful of powdered sugar on top if desired, or serve with whipped cream.