Warm Gingerbread Cake with Calvados Caramel Sauce
340 g (2⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cloves
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground star anise
½ tsp salt
220 g (1¼ cups firmly packed) dark brown sugar
200 g (⅔ cup) fancy molasses
140 g (⅓ cup + 2 Tbsp) liquid honey
210 g (1 cup) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
335 g (1⅓ cups) boiling water
zest of 1 lemon
115 g (½ cup) unsalted butter
150 g (¾ cup firmly packed) dark brown sugar
120 g (½ cup) whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 Tbsp calvados (optional)
vanilla ice cream, to serve
You will need a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
To Make the Cake
1 Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray the baking dish with vegetable oil and line it with parchment paper. Put a kettle on to boil.
2 Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt and set aside.
3 Place the brown sugar, molasses, and honey in a stand mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4 With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the oil. Once incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium and mix for 1 minute.
5 Add the eggs and mix until smooth and well incorporated.
6 Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the dry ingredients and the boiling water, alternating three parts dry with two parts water and beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. Add the lemon zest and mix until just combined.
7 Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
To Make the Sauce
8 Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cook until dissolved. Slowly pour in the whipping cream and continue to cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and calvados if using.
9 To serve the pain d’épices, cut out pieces or rounds while still warm and top generously with warm sauce. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Storage and Serving
This gingerbread will keep at room temperature for up to five days. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat both before serving.