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apple-bottom gingerbread recipe

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I suppose gingerbread is more of a winter flavor, but I’m just not feeling pumpkin this season. My obligatory taste of pumpkin this year was in the form of a latte, and maybe I’ll bake a pumpkin roll eventually. Don’t feel too bad for me, though, because this cake is incredible! It was baked last Friday and I’m still working my way through it, one slice for breakfast at a time.

This recipe is from a culinary memoir I bought a year or two ago, Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School. Most of the recipes in it are kinda fancy, though there are a few easier recipes like biscuits and this cake.

You probably have all the ingredients to make this right now. I had to buy molasses, and I didn’t have allspice, but cardamom makes a good substitute. Recently, I bought new cake pans and this is the first cake I baked in it.

I bought a baking sheet from Chicago Metallic a few months ago since the baking sheet I was given from the lentil contest is really good. Because I like matching things, I bought cake pans from the same company: Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan. I didn’t mean to buy nonstick, as the uncoated pans are a few bucks cheaper, but that’s all that was available at Chef Central (I had a LivingSocial deal). That ended up working out in my favor, though.

The pans are a little heavy, but very sturdy. The thick rolled rims make the pan easy to grip with oven mitts.

To pack a spicy punch, both powdered and freshly grated ginger are used in the batter. If you use a microplane zester, there is no need to peel the ginger before grating it. Love that!

Apple slices, which are precooked in butter and brown sugar, are placed on the bottom of the cake pan.

This cake baked up really well! It is tall, moist, and spicy. The apples are almost like a thin coating of jam, which tickled me to the core.

I am also now in the mood for all things fall (but not pumpkin) – I have returned to knitting (the knitting group I attended helped), I am eagerly awaiting the first real drop in temperature so I can wear my new boots, and I can’t wait to break out my scarves (and buy a few more from NYC vendors).

And that nonstick pan I didn’t mean to buy? It was pretty effortless to clean!

Apple-Bottom Gingerbread
recipe from Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (I used cardamom, since that’s all I had)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup dark molasses
1 egg
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. To prepare the apple bottom: In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the butter and brown sugar until the butter melts. Add the apples and cook gently until the apples soften and caramelize slightly but still retain their shape, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. To make the gingerbread: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Thoroughly grease a 9-inch round cake pan or ovenproof glass baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking soda, and brown sugar. Stir in the grated ginger and molasses, then the egg. Once the egg has been fully incorporated, add the hot water and oil. Mix gently until everything is well combined.
  4. Spread the apples and their caramel in one layer in the prepared pan. Gently pour in the gingerbread batter.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The gingerbread is fully baked when a toothpick comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan.
  6. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then invert the pan onto a large plate or platter. Everything should come out beautifully.

Makes one 9-inch cake, enough for 6 people


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