Legend has it that this gingerbread cake was first made for General Lafayette in the 1780's by George Washington's mother. Mary Ball Washington reportedly studded her version with sweet raisins and orange rind.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup unsulfered molasses
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup raisins
Whipped heavy cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cream butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in molasses, then beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and baking soda into a medium bowl.
- Combine buttermilk, orange juice and zest, and raisins in another bowl. Beat in 1/3 of flour mixture into butter mixture, then beat in 1/3 of buttermilk mixture. Repeat process twice until all of the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture have been combined into butter mixture.
- Pour batter into greased, floured 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Makes 12 servings.