Chai Gingerbread Cake

In our family nothing says Christmas like Gingerbread Cake. Just the smell of baking Gingerbread cake invokes memories of Christmas past. Since our children were little Gingerbread cake is a family tradition that I've continued all these years. This year I decided to add a twist to my classic Gingerbread using a Chai blend of spices to enhance the flavor which turned out to be everyone's new Christmas favorite!

Chai Gingerbread Cake

Chai Spices:

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 tablespoon cardamon seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Using a spice grinder or food processor, grind together fennel seeds, cloves, cardamon seeds, cinnamon and ginger. Reserve 2 teaspoons and store the rest in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to one year.

Gingerbread Cake:

1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur's)
2 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter  (I use Cabot butter)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Whipped cream to serve with, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9-by13-inch pan and set aside. Combine water with baking soda, Set aside. In a large bowl sift together Chai spices, flour and baking soda. Set aside.
2. In another large bowl, cream butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy, Beat in molasses and baking soda mixture. Beat in flour mixture. Add eggs and beat well.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake for 35 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean). Cool on wire rack. To serve dust with confectioners' sugar and cut into squares. You can serve just like this or with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl (I like to but my bowl and beaters in the freezer) and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency. For soft peaks, the cream will be just thick enough to hold its shape in soft billows. For stiffly beaten cream, the beaters or whisk wires will leave distinct traces on the cream and stand in firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.



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