Gingerbread Cake with Date Bourbon Sauce

A belly-warming autumn recipe from Nick Sharma in his new book, The Flavour Equation.

Serves 12
Makes one 9 inch square cake and 2 cups sauce

For the date syrup bourbon sauce:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup [240 ml] date syrup
1 cup [240 ml] heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey bourbon or whiskey
¼ tsp fine sea salt 

For serving: 
Lightly sweetened crème fraîche 
Fresh lime zest

For the cake:
¾ cup [165 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground green cardamom
1 tsp lime zest
2½ cups [350 g] all-purpose flour 
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 oz [55 g] crystallized ginger, chopped 
¼ cup [50 g] sugar
¼ cup [85 g] honey
1 cup [320 g] unsulfured molasses or sorghum 
½ cup [120 g] crème fraîche 
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup [240 ml] water warmed to 158°F [70°C] 
Grease a 9 in [23 cm] square baking pan with a little butter and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the ginger, black pepper, cardamom, and lime zest. Let steep for 10 minutes.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the flour mixture in a small bowl, add the crystallized ginger to it, and toss to coat well.
Preheat the oven to 325°F [163°C]. Place the sugar, honey, and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer. Scrape out the melted butter from the saucepan with a silicone spatula and add it to the mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until it turns a toffee-brown color, 4 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl, add the crème fraîche, and mix on low speed until combined, 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the bowl. Mix in 1 egg at a time on medium speed until combined. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the water and mix until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides. Fold in the crystallized ginger and transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown on the surface and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. Run a knife along the edges of the pan to release the cake and transfer to a serving plate.

To prepare the date bourbon sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Swirl the butter in the saucepan until the milk solids start to turn red. Whisk in the date syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, followed by the bourbon and the salt. Transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate until ready to use. You can make this sauce 2 days ahead of time.

To serve, cut the cake into slices and serve with sweetened crème fraîche, a little lime zest, and a generous drizzle of the date bourbon sauce. 
 
About the Author
Nick Sharma is a molecular biologist turned cookbook author and food photographer. He is a columnist for Serious Eats and a contributor to NYT Cooking. His new cookbook, The Flavor Equation, will be released in October 2020 and has been named one of “Fall’s Best Cookbooks” by EaterChowhoundEpicurious, and The Kitchn. Read more on his award-winning blog, abrowntable.com. All revenue placed through Nik Sharma’s affiliate page on Bookshop.org will be donated to Feeding America. 
 

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