I find myself thumbing through Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook a lot.  I love her writing and find her recipes to be fool-proof whenever I make any.  I went to school in London for a semester in 1998 (when her first book How to Eat came out and surprisingly never heard of her which is disturbing because I spent copious amounts of time in Notting Hill’s Books for Cooks shop). She’s got a great handle on the food I wish I could have eaten when I lived there.  Alas, my meal plan at the dormitory I stayed in had less than stellar choices (example: sweet and sour fish balls were a dinner entree one memorable night).

Why I was drawn to the gingerbread recipe I do not know.  It exudes warming wintertime holiday feelings eaten with steaming milky tea.  Somehow, the steamy temperature of this NY summer and the AC working on overload steered me in this recipe’s direction.  I do love ginger and when I scanned the contents of my cabinets and refrigerator I saw that I had the makings of gingerbread.   I altered Nigella’s recipe and could consider this a fridge-sweep worthy recipe in that I used up some ricotta, rye flour, and agave while decreasing the sugar.  I used Nigella’s method of combining most of the liquid ingredients in a saucepan on the stove and then stirring the wet ingredients into the dry ones.  I also baked it in a larger pan for a bit less time than her original recipe.  I have eaten it plain, with coffee ice cream, and with a freshly cut plum.   All were delicious and didn’t remind me in the least of winter.

Gingerbread Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook, 2001

1-1/4 c. white whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. rye flour1-1/4 c. white whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 c. plus 2 tblsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/2 c. Blackstrap molasses
2 generous teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tblsp. warm water
1-1/4 c. white whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. rye flour

Preheat the oven to 325F and butter and dust a 13x9x2 baking pan with cocoa powder.

In a large mixing bowl combine white whole wheat flour and rye flour and set aside.

Over medium heat in a large saucepan, melt the butter, agave, molasses, ginger, and nutmeg.  Take off the heat and whisk in the ricotta, milk, baking soda, and water.  Pour over the flour and mix to combine thoroughly.

Bake for 40 minutes and cool.  It gets sweeter the longer it sits.  I suspect it would be delicious if some orange liqueur were brushed over it while it was hot also.

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