The ground spices make this spectacular cake perfect for the Christmas season. Good both warm and at room temperature, it’s best drizzled with caramel sauce, topped with spiced whipped cream – or both. Thanks to Williams Sonoma for this week’s recipe.
250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
470 g plain flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
2 tbsp. ground ginger
45 g peeled and grated fresh ginger
220 g firmly packed light brown sugar
345 g light molasses
250 ml buttermilk
For the caramel sauce (optional):
125 g sugar
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
60 ml double cream
For the nutmeg whipped cream (optional):
375 ml double cream
6 tbsp. 45 g icing sugar
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Butter a 25cm Bundt pan and dust lightly with flour and shake out any excess.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger and grated ginger. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg. Add the molasses and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan, slipping a knife between the edge of the cake and the pan to loosen. Turn the cake right side up and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
4. While the cake is baking, make the caramel sauce. Put the sugar in a heavy saucepan and add enough water to just cover (it should resemble wet sand). Place over medium-high heat and cook, swirling (not stirring) the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking, until the mixture starts to bubble and the edges begin to turn amber 7 to 10 minutes. Watching carefully to prevent overcooking, heat until the mixture turns a deep amber, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and very carefully add the butter (it may spatter) and then the cream, swirling the pan until the mixture is evenly blended. Set the sauce aside until ready to serve, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Rewarm the sauce over low heat before serving.
5. Right before serving, make the whipped cream, if using: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the icing sugar and nutmeg and continue to beat until almost stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Drizzle the cake with the warm caramel sauce, if using, and cut into wedges. If desired, garnish each wedge with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serves 12 to 16.