A Birthday Cake for Grownups

This ginger cake with orange whipped cream is perfect for a celebration

Ginger cake with orange whipped cream

Ginger cake with orange whipped cream


Every year on my birthday, which falls on November 7, I ask my family for the same three gifts: breakfast out, a hike and something handmade. We usually go to Sophia’s for breakfast and then hike in Cherokee Marsh. Last year, my husband and kids surprised me with a beautiful necklace they made at a bead store. But no birthday is complete without a cake, and that I give as a gift to myself. I have made everything from elaborate layered affairs with meringue buttercream filling to a simple carrot number. This aromatic ginger cake is another winner, perfect for a celebration or to simply enjoy after a lazy weekend dinner. Cakes take time, but I’m worth it. And so are you. 

RECIPE: Ginger Cake with Orange Whipped Cream


3/4 cup stout
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup mild molasses
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan
2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
Orange whipped cream (recipe below)


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8x8-inch square baking pan. Bring stout to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam vigorously). When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pepper together in large bowl; set aside. Transfer stout mixture to another large bowl. Whisk in eggs, oil and grated ginger until combined. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously after each addition until completely smooth. Transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake until top of cake is just firm to the touch and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack, about 1 1/2 hours. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature. Top with orange whipped cream.

RECIPE: Orange whipped cream


1 cup heavy cream
1–2 tbsp powdered sugar
Zest of one orange
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice


Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and zest; whip again until peaks are fairly stiff. Add in orange juice and fold in briefly. 

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.

Find more Dining In here and check out Cassidy’s blog, Local Flavor.



Madison Magazine August 2014 - August 2014 $19.95 for one year - Subscribe today