Ginger-Molasses Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd

Fresh grated ginger and lemon zest add zest, sparkle and punch.

Fresh grated ginger and lemon zest add zest, sparkle and punch.

Today I began cooking for a holiday party I’m hosting the day after tomorrow. One item I want on the menu is an old-fashioned spice cake, and while thumbing through cookbooks in search of a recipe, I was imagining rich layers of flavor that would be more redolent of spice than cloyingly sweet. No such luck; I couldn’t find the perfect recipe.

After describing my fantasy cake to Lucy (the most talented pastry chef I know), she described a recipe with fresh, snappy ginger that plays off dark savory notes in molasses – she promised lemon zest and curd will make it sing.

Making the batter.

Making the batter.

The results were the Hallalujah Chorus in my mouth – moist, yet rich with old-fashioned, home-baked flavor; I plan to serve it with whipped or Devon cream on the side.

My next make-aheads on the list will be a Gorgonzola-Pear Dip (I’ll add the pears the day of the party), and Pimento Cheese with Creme Fraiche and Bacon, which I’ll serve in endive cups.

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Recipe: Ginger-Molasses Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd


  • 3 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, Vietnamese preferred
  • 2 packed tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 packed tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Unsalted butter for buttering bundt pan
  • Lemon curd as needed, scratch-made or purchased
  • Powdered sugar
  • Devon or whipped cream (optional)


  1. Position rack on middle shelf of oven and reheat to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour and cinnamon together until completely combined.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat ginger, zest, butter and brown sugar together at high speed until mixture is pale; about 5 minutes.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together boiling water, molasses and baking soda; mixture will foam and expand.
  5. Alternate adding flour mixture and molasses mixture to butter mixture in three batches, mixing at medium speed until incorporated. Beat in eggs.
  6. Pour in well-buttered 9-inch bundt pan, and bake 45-55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto a baking rack and cool an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Spread with lemon curd and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Serve with cream, if using.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 45-55 minutes

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