Everyone will eat this cake.

Don’t think of those tough-as-nails gingerbread men your well-intentioned neighbors send over around the holidays, touching fingertips and rosy-ringing ’round a threatening fruitcake and brittle candy canes in a disingenuous yuletide bake basket.

By the way, when you’re done enjoying, please return the basket or they’ll ask you for eight dollars.  Aside from being directionless in the kitchen, your neighbors are also tightwads.

This gingerbread cake is more cake than ginger.  It’s light and moist in texture, tasty but not overbearing in flavors.  Good for anytime of year, despite the holiday-themed spices you’ll need to retrieve from the back of your pantry.

Meanwhile, at a David Sedaris reading earlier this week, Sedaris told the audience, via a friend who worked at a grocery store, that price-wise, spices are the most marked-up items in the place.  Something to consider next time you’re making the decision between the pricey name brand ground ginger and “Pepe’s Ginger-Tinted Flavor Dust.”  Just something to ponder.  After all, as Julia Child reminds us, “Whoooooooo’s to know?”

Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Cake Recipe

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. (I cooked it for 35 minutes at this temperature, and dropped it to 310 degrees from there on, checking every five minutes to make sure it didn’t overcook. Total cook time for my oven was 55 minutes)

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Transfer batter to prepared pans; smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen.

Turn out cake onto a serving platter; dust generously with confectioners’ sugar.