Laurie Colwin’s Gingerbread

A perfectly spiced cake from writer Laurie Colwin makes for a simple dessert at the end of a meal or a perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee.

Laurie Colwin

When you hear the word “gingerbread,” I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking -- crisp cookies in the shapes of little men, miniature holiday houses decorated with icing and candy. Right? Well, this gingerbread isn’t that at all. It’s not a cookie, but a beautifully spiced cake from a recipe by author and food writer Laurie Colwin, who had this to say about her recipe, “I love gingerbread in its true cake form – moist, spongy, and spicy.” It’s all the flavors of the well-known cookie, but in a much more comforting form. It goes wonderfully with tea or coffee in the morning or afternoon, and a little slice is the perfect end to a winter meal.

Spices used in this recipe

Ginger, Ground
Cloves, Ground
Allspice, Ground
Vanilla Extract



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the stick of butter with the brown sugar, beating until fluffy and evenly combined. Add molasses and beat until combined, and then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and Vanns spices. Sift the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture and stir until just evenly combined.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla until just combined. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. The gingerbread is ready when a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool the gingerbread in the pan on a rack before removing from pan.

Makes 1 cake. Adapted from The New York Times

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