Ginger Spice Cake with Dried Cherries from Bon Appetit Magazine, April 2012

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If you approach the whole dating thing from a solely monetary standpoint, I’m the kind of woman you want to take out. I don’t have a head for alcohol so I might have one drink, but most probably will stick to water.

And I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. So I usually don’t want dessert. In other words, I’m a cheap date.

Our house always has candies, chocolates, cakes and cookies on stands, in bowls, stacked on shelves and filling baskets. Most of the time the goods come and go without my ever having even a taste. It helps that one member of the family (Hubby) has no problem making a meal out of a package of Fig Newtons.

When I do want to eat cake, it will be because it’s not overly sweet. Frosting; unappealing. Chocolate; um, no thanks. Instead, the cake will be super-moist and full of unique flavor (not chocolate). If it has the word pound or bundt attached to it; even better.

So, I went through the range of emotions as I paged through the current issue of Bon Appetit. I got so excited to see that there was a Ginger Spice Cake recipe on page 87. Then I was very let down to see a photo with it being topped with a rich chocolate frosting on page 84. Finally, elation triumphed at reading under the title of the cake that I could, “. . .simply dust it with powdered sugar.” 

The Process

There are three components to this cake; the dry stuff, the butter/wet stuff and the chopped stuff.

Whisking the dry stuff together is easy. Beating the butter, sugar, eggs, etc. is pretty standard stuff as well. The interesting component is the chopped stuff, specifically dried cherries and crystallized ginger.

While you’re beating the butter and sugar, the stuff is soaking in a combination of hot espresso and Dijon mustard. Yeah, I know. I thought the same thing. I considered not making the cake. It was tempting to leave it out.

But I’ve committed to following the recipes as written so there it was, Dijon mustard, coffee, ginger and cherries. Whoda thunk. Sounds more like a pork loin stuffing than a cake.

The Verdict

Don’t leave out the mustard. I don’t know why it’s there or what it’s role is, but this cake is fantastically good and it would be a shame to change anything and take the chance of ruining the flavor. It’s decadent, moist, full-bodied, spicy and sweet.

Hubby and I both enjoyed it thoroughly. Dudette did at first, but then the heat of the ginger kicked in and she proclaimed it too spicy. A half cup of crystallized and a tablespoon of fresh ginger will do that to a child.

If you like chocolate, go ahead and add the Luscious Chocolate Icing (you can find it in the magazine), but personally, I found it to be perfect with just the dusting of sugar.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Not a thing.

Ginger Spice Cake with Dried Cherries from Bon Appetit Magazine, April 2012
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries (about 6 ounces), finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup hot espresso or very strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • Special Equipment
  • A 6–8-cup Bundt pan
  1. 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 2½ cups flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ½ 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.
  3. Strain cherry mixture into a small bowl, reserving soaking liquid. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove cake from pan. Spoon Luscious Chocolate Icing over cake, if using, allowing it to drip down sides. Cut cake into wedges to serve.


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