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Laurie Colwin’s Gingerbread

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Recipe Source: Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, care of Marisa McClellan of

Directions: (all parenthetical notes belong to Colwin)

1. Cream one stick of sweet butter with 1/2 cup of light or dark brown sugar. Beat until fluffy and add 1/2 cup of molasses.
2. Beat in two eggs.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and one very generous tablespoon of ground ginger (this can be adjusted to taste, but I like it very gingery). Add one teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice.
4. Add two teaspoons of lemon brandy. If you don’t have any, use plain vanilla extract. Lemon extract will not do. Then add 1/2 cup of buttermilk (or milk with a little yogurt beaten into it) and turn batter into a buttered tin.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for between twenty and thirty minutes (check after twenty minutes have passed). Test with a broom straw and cool on a rack.

Marisa’s notes:

I used a fairly shallow 9 inch round cake pan and had a mess all over my oven. I think next time, I will use a deeper, square 9 x 9 pan. Also, in my oven, which runs fairly true to temperature, this cake took nearly an hour to bake. I don’t know if that had something to do with my choice in baking vessel, but don’t be discouraged if it takes far longer than her instructions indicate.


  1. Vee Jacobson

    If you liked the gingerbread, may I recommend Nantucket cranberry pie pp 121-122 of More Home Cooking. Also Rosemary walnuts p 192. Not to forget the easiest most spectacular result for the least effort bread pp 142-144. Or perhaps entertain the idea of trying one recipe a month from either Home Cooking or More Home Cooking. I have been enjoying her books since the late late ’80’s. What a loss for those of us who love great cooking and prose.

  2. Nicki

    Thanks, I’ll check them out. 😀

  3. Katrina

    Hi, I am confused about the Laurie Colwin recipe ingredients. In her book she says use STEEN’s MOLASSES, yet she also says in the same recipe STEEN’s GOLDEN SYRUP. So, which is it, does anyone know? I ordered the DARK MOLASSES from STEEN’s, and I think this is perhaps the wrong ingredient. Thanks.

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