Yes, this is the third recipe for sticky gingerbread I've posted on this blog.
I know. I have a bit of a problem.
For the past few years, baking up a big pan of gingerbread on a rainy day and then sitting down to enjoy a still-warm-from-the-oven slice and a big mug of tea has become something of a fall ritual.
After all, what's not to love about a big fat hunk of British-style gingerbread?
I'm endlessly fascinated with the way it contradicts itself. It's simultaneously densely thick and pillowy soft, sticky but not messy, simple and homey but with a surprisingly complex flavour that perfectly balances between sugar and spice.
This year's version is a Pumpkin Spice Gingerbread that starts off with my basic recipe and sprinkles in a generous dash or two of pumpkin spice, thus bringing together my two autumnal obsessions into one convenient format.
The pumpkin flavour in the finished cake is quite subtle, more of a whisper than a shout, but it gives the finished cake an incredibly tender, moist crumb.
(I mean, look at those slices - even with the sharpest knife in my kitchen, it refused to slice cleanly!)
I may have inhaled two pieces still warm from the oven, and then two more for breakfast the very next day. For testing purposes, of course.
I may have also brought the rest to work, so that my coworkers could help make sure I wouldn't eat more. Also for testing purposes, because sometimes it's good to have a second opinion.
And I may have eaten the one piece that was left over after all my coworkers helped themselves. Just to be really, really sure that the last piece was just as good as the first, because that's also a very important QA test.
And I may have absolutely no regrets about any of the above.
On that note, I'll be checking myself into rehab for my sticky gingerbread problem. Or maybe the nearest Weight Watchers meeting. I'm still trying to decide.
Sticky Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Yield: 18 1x
This is a classic British style gingerbread - super gooey, deliciously tender and subtly spicy - but with a pumpkin-spice twist that's perfect for fall.
- 1 cup cooking molasses
- ½ cup golden syrup
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup water
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ½ cup milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a lightly buttered 9"x12" baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized saucepan set over low heat, combine the molasses, sugar, golden syrup, butter and water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool until just barely warm to the touch.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and cloves.
- Pour the cooled molasses mixture into a second large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add pumpkin, milk and vanilla extract, and stir until completely combined. Lastly, add the dry ingredients, stirring just until the mixture comes together (the batter will look fairly runny and a little lumpy, but resist the urge to add more flour or to continue stirring - this is exactly how it's supposed to look).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until the top is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a moist crumb. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then lift out using the parchment and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed, perhaps with a generous dollop of whipped cream if you're thusly inclined.
Choosing the Right Molasses: I originally tested this recipe using cooking molasses, a blend of blackstrap and fancy molasses, which gives the gingerbread a slightly deeper, darker flavour. However, you can also use fancy molasses for a lighter flavour. Just avoid pure blackstrap molasses - based on reader feedback, they're very overpowering.
What's Golden Syrup? This classic British ingredient is one of the holdovers of Canada's colonial past. You'll usually find it in larger grocery stores near the maple syrup and honey in the breakfast area or next to the molasses in the baking section, though sometimes it also pops up in the International Aisle along with other British imports. In a pinch, golden corn syrup makes a pretty decent substitute.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Category: Dessert
Oh boy! I think this cake will be the star of the Christmas table this year! I used fresh pumpkin instead of canned since I always bake & freeze the October pumpkin. I whizzed the pumpkin flesh in the food processor and then drained it in a sieve so it wouldn't be over-moist. It smells heavenly, but I resisted tasting it and wrapped it well to freeze until we're ready for it. Loved all of your comments in the recipe.
So good!! The golden syrup puts it right over the top. My fav gingerbread recipe! And don’t use black strap, just use regular molasses.
This was a flop for us. I should have known one cup of blackstrap was a mistake, but I was lured by the promise of sticky British-style pudding. The texture was moist and sticky as promised, but the flavour was bitter and acrid, and completely overehelmed the pumpkin and spice. Even covered in vanilla ice-cream and homemade caramel, my daughter didn't finish her piece, and she is a kid who eats fancy molasses out of the carton. I can only assume the blackstrap is an error, and the recipe should read "fancy molasses". Our cake also turned out nearly black in colour, not at all the golden caramel colour photographed
Isabelle Boucher says
I'm so sorry to hear that, Christine. Based on your feedback, I went back to my original notes and realised that I developed this recipe using something called "cooking molasses", which I always assumed was the same as blackstrap, but actually turns out to be a blend of fancy and blackstrap. I really apologize for the mixup, and have updated the recipe to reflect the option to use either cooking molasses or fancy molasses, both of which tested out well.
Janice (@KtchnHealsSoul) says
Pumpkin+gingerbread is a great idea, and one I didn't think of, so I'm glad you decided to revisit gingerbread cake for the 3rd time ;)
Also gingerbread cake is possibly one of my favorite cakes, so please, by all means, keep blogging about it!
shannon @ a periodic table says
i'm in: i have an intense weakness for sticky gingerbread: it screams holiday (and usually keeps me from screaming DURING the holidays), and although i prefer mine with coffee, i feel like we could hang out together and snack away on this.
maybe weight watchers AFTER we finish.
G'day, In Australia we can get golden syrup, but not canned pumpkin puree; but, if I were in Canada I would just use the ordinary table molasses instead of both blackstrap and golden syrup. Just a suggestion.
Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says
You had me a "golden syrup" :)