Over Labor Day weekend, Cam and I found ourselves visiting the Ferry Market Building and Cam waited in line for me at Blue Bottle while I got my window shopping fix. When Cam finally made it through the line (which was particularly bad on the holiday weekend), he showed up with an adorable little loaf cake in addition to my latte. The cake was a seriously rich, moist gingerbread, but Cam was expecting a little chocolate cake, so the cake became mine.
As delicious as it was, I was kind of with him. I like gingerbread, but it's no chocolate cake. Unless, of course, you make chocolate gingerbread. Now, how come I had never thought of that before?
These little cakes are moist and spiced like gingerbread but with a serious bite of chocolate from both cocoa powder and chocolate chunks. It doesn't hurt to use really good chocolate, and lots of it. I used Tcho baking drops, which are dark, but not too dark with a great chocolately flavor that pairs really well with the ginger and molasses.
My recipe is an adaptation from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth" (Jill O'Connor)'s recipe for an upside-down gingerbread cake with pears and walnuts. I left out the upside down part (although that did sound incredible) for the chocolate cakes, keeping to a simple gingerbread. I am also intrigued by the gingerbread recipe from "Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours" (Kim Boyce) which uses Kamut flour... I think it would work beautifully with an infusion of chocolate as well. To bump the nutrition in my (simpler) recipe, I added a bit of flaxseed meal. It's not necessary, but why not?
These cakes are my newest addiction. Paired with a big glass of milk or a cup of coffee, I think a slice (or three) is just about the perfect treat for the brink of fall.
BTW - today is Celiac Awareness day! And here I've given you a gluteny recipe. Sorry about that... but here's the good news: I think this recipe would work beautifully with the Ahern Gluten Free All Purpose Mix in place of the all purpose flour. If you try it, let me know!
135 grams (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
a pinch of ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional)
2 tablespoons crystalized ginger chips
3/4 cup chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a baking pan (I used two small paper loaf pans, but you can also use an 8 inch round cake pan or a single full sized loaf pan).
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter & brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Mix the buttermilk, molasses and flaxseed meal (if using) together, and add all at once to the butter mixture. Don't worry if it looks a bit curdy. Add the flour mixture and mix just until you get a smooth batter. Fold in the crystalized ginger and chocolate chips being careful not to overmix.
Bake until a cake tester comes clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.