Reprinted from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark (c) 2010 by Bill Yosses
Bill Yosses, who lectured again this fall in Harvard University’s Science and Cooking series, is the executive pastry chef at the White House. He has the distinction of being hired by the Bush Administration and staying on with the Obamas. His gingerbread has the distinction of freshly ground whole spices including star anise and cardamom, which impart an intoxicating aroma. The directions call for an electric mixer, but hand mixing works fine. Unsalted butter, for the pan All-purpose flour, for dusting
3 green cardamom pods
3 allspice berries
1½ cinnamon sticks, broken in pieces
½ star anise
2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup half-and-half
½ cup molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated fresh ginger
2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
For the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter generously and flour a 6-cup Bundt, 9-inch springform or 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a spice grinder or clean electric coffee grinder, grind the cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and star anise to a powder. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the spices and brown sugar and mix with the paddle attachment at low speed to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, half-andhalf, molasses and grated ginger until well combined. With the mixer at low speed, gradually pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, then raise the speed to medium and mix until the batter is smoothly combined and pourable, about 2 minutes. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake on the center rack until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, loosely cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack (at least an hour) before unmolding. When the cake is cool, slide a thin knife or offset spatula around the sides of the pan, then turn the pan over to unmold the cake onto a plate or serving platter.
For the glaze:
Whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let set at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.