Jason Young credits his mom for this luscious dessert. “The base for this recipe came from a card I found in her recipe box many years ago. She always baked a special homemade cake for everyone’s birthday,” says Young, who, along with Michael Lampro, own Sweet William’s Coffee Shop & Bakery in Salisbury.

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Jason Young, co-owner of Sweet William’s Coffee Shop & Bakery in Salisbury.

Gingerbread spice cake adds festive flair to any table. “Nothing says holiday baking like ginger and cloves, and your entire house will smell amazing while it’s baking. I love the spiciness of ginger in baked goods and wanted to incorporate that flavor in this frosted dessert,” Young says. “The addition of crystallized ginger adds a unique texture variation to this cake. The simplicity of baking in a Bundt pan also makes this recipe appealing and the soft cream cheese icing adds the perfect finishing touch. Everything is better with frosting.”

Young prefers simple, old-fashioned baking. “You don’t need to use obscure specialty ingredients to create something impressive. I use common, everyday ingredients most people already have in their pantry, or that can be found in any supermarket.” He suggests pairing the cake with espresso or fresh, robust brewed coffee.

Helping his mom bake when he was a youngster was fun. “But starting a food business is risky and takes an enormous amount of work — and a touch of crazy — so to be successful you have to truly love doing it.” Young says. “It’s a pleasure creating something that brings joy to others.”

 

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Gingerbread spice cake with cream cheese drizzle

Servings: 8

Time: 25 minutes to prep, 45 minutes to bake

Cake ingredients

  • ⅔ cup (5 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1½ sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sweet molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2½ cups (12 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup crystalized ginger pieces (optional), plus more for garnish

Icing ingredients

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Baker’s tips: Use high-quality sweet molasses and not blackstrap, which is too bitter. Also, room temperature eggs incorporate into the batter more easily. To bring them to room temperature quickly, submerge them in warm water for a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch non-stick Bundt pan or tube pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the soft butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until mixture is light, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in molasses and beat until fully incorporated, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl between additions. On low speed, stir in ⅓ of the flour mixture. Once flour is incorporated, add half of the buttermilk and increase speed to medium and mix well, about 30 seconds. Stop to scrape the bowl, then stir in another ⅓ of the flour mixture. Add remaining buttermilk and mix well. Stop to scrape the bowl again; stir in remaining flour mixture.

Increase speed and beat the batter 2 minutes more. If using, fold in crystallized ginger.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in a 350-degree oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake tests clean, about 40-45 minutes. When done, the cake will be dark brown.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the icing. Using a stand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Turn to low speed and slowly add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and milk. Scrape the bowl, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, about a minute. Icing should be thin enough to slowly “drip” down the sides of the cake. To adjust icing consistency, add either more milk (if too thick) or more confectioner’s sugar (if too thin), one teaspoon at a time.

Spread icing over top of cooled cake, allowing to drip down the sides. Garnish with additional crystallized ginger and a sprinkle of cloves.

Pamela Brown is a former English professor, a freelance writer, a marketing/PR specialist for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, and author of Faithful Love, her first novel that inspired a love of writing. Pamela resides in Connecticut with her daughter, Alexis, who makes her life an adventure. 

This article appeared in the December 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.