I think making a birthday cake for someone you love is one of the best presents one human being can give to another. Celebrating a person’s life is something we should do with more frequency than once a year, but making an extra effort by measuring your affection for them in cups of flour, sugar and butter somehow makes our feelings crystal clear. And this can be a very sweet realization, don’t you agree?
When I saw this recipe in Bon Appétit’s magazine last April (2012), I ripped it out and filed it away for October, knowing exactly who was going to be smiling in front of it. This cake is filled with three forms of ginger, aromatic allspice, snappy black pepper and a kick of mustard—all spices that’ll toast you from the inside out.
It’s a perfect fit for the individual who has made a lifelong habit of showing you the warmth of unconditional love.
Gingery Spiced Cake with Sour Cherries & a Sour Cherry Glaze
Adapted from the Bon Appétit recipe by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1 cup dried sour cherries (about 6 ounces), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup hot espresso
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
A 6–8-cup Bundt pan
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter Bundt pan. Dust pan with flour, tapping out excess. Combine cherries, crystallized ginger, grated ginger, and Dijon mustard in a medium bowl. Pour espresso over cherry mixture and set aside. Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour, Five Spice Powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in molasses.
- Strain cherry mixture into a small bowl, reserving soaking liquid (the espresso juice). Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternately with soaking liquid in 2 additions, beating to blend between additions. Fold in drained cherry mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
- Bake until top of cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
- Remove cake from pan. Spoon Sour Cherry Glaze over the cooled cake. Light your candles, and tune up your vocal chords.
Sour Cherry Glaze
6 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons sour cherry preserves
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
Blend all your ingredients together and note the glaze’s consistency. Feel free to adjust to your preferred level of sweet and sour as well as thickness. It should drip down the sides.