Ironheart recipes: Gingerbread cake

We’ve been experimenting with cooking and baking on the Ironheart woodstove this winter, and have assembled a list of tried and true recipes that are working for us. One of these is a recipe for gingerbread, the cake that is. With a cooking time of just 25 minutes, this is a cake that’s easily done in a woodstove, where regulating temperature is more work (ie it requires attention) than a conventional oven.

Gingerbread cake baked in a bundt pan in the Ironheart woodstove

This particular recipe is one that I based on several recipes for gingerbread that I’ve used over the years, and then tweaked to personal taste and the needs of the woodstove. I never add salt when baking. The bundt pan was chosen as the cake bakes more evenly in the woodstove in this type of pan; with a round or square pan, the centre doesn’t always bake as evenly as it should.

Ironheart Gingerbread Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (unbleached flour would work too)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 cup milk

Step 1 – Get woodstove to the lower end of the ‘Very Hot’ range on the dial (for conventional bakers, this is about 350 degrees fahrenheit)

Step 2 – Combine softened butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream together

Step 3 – Add egg and molasses and combine

Step 4 – Add dry ingredients and mix briefly until incorporated

Step 5 – Pour into a prepared baking pan (a bundt pan is preferable)

Step 6 – Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until top springs back gently when touched; it’s important not too overbake this cake and to err on the side of ever-so-slightly underdone as it will finish up in the pan

This cake is very nice served with lemon sauce, but tonight I was craving something different and turned to a stovetop frosting from a favourite old cookbook. It worked incredibly well and got the thumbs up from family members. It’s from Fresh from the Country by Susan Restino. I’ve modified the method a bit: Restino’s recipe calls for a double boiler, but I’ve used the same method in a saucepan without the boiling water underneath with the same results.

Coconut butterscotch topping
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup walnut pieces (optional)
3 tbsp milk

Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Add coconut, nuts and milk. Stir continuously for approximately five minutes. Spread on cooled cake at once and cool before serving. Covers 1 layer cake, top and sides.

Gingerbread baked in Esse Ironheart woodstove

I don’t have a picture with the topping on the cake, as this shot was taken the last time I made the recipe. Think I’ve got a winner here as oldest son just walked into the room saying “Need more tasty cake!” and grabbed another slice.

11 thoughts on “Ironheart recipes: Gingerbread cake

    1. The vegan challenge is a good one; it would be healthier overall. I’ll definitely have a think about that. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Hi – we’re buying an Esse Ironheart shortly, and I just signed up to follow your blogs for some hints on using it for cooking! Can’t wait, as everything I read about them is overwhelmingly positive.

    1. Lovely to ‘meet you’ Catriona. We continue to be amazed at our Ironheart; it’s the best thing we’ve ever acquired and done for our home. We’re having a lot of fun with the cooking and baking side of things and will continue to share our experience. We’d love to hear how you get on with yours!

      1. I have one or two technical questions….

        When it’s all fired up, how much heat are you getting from the sides, and from the back? We’re undecided on where to sit our Esse, and have a number of options, but these are the sort of questions that are best answered by real users, I suspect.

        I’d like to sit it in the middle of the room (20′ x 30′ approx), to get the best benefits from the heat, but that might (a) look funny, and (b) not be practical!

      2. Tell you what; I’ll do a post tonight or tomorrow at the latest about the positioning of our Ironheart and our findings on that and I’ll address your question in there. Ours is against an outside (concrete) wall and we have lots of thoughts that it’s definitely time for us to share.

  2. That would be super – thank you. I suspect I’m not the only one tripping around the net trying to find answers to living happily with an Ironheart!

    1. I think you’re absolutely right and wish we had found more direct experience to draw from when we were making our decision! You got me at the right time and I’ve already started uploading photos that will be helpful in showing our situation. Cheers.

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