Skip to content

Light Ginger Cake

July 25, 2012

In this month of July 2012, I said farewell to a friend I never met – Marion Cunningham.

When I discovered her Breakfast Book & Supper Book, I pored over them, Getting hungry and being inspired by so many of her recipes. Authentic and pure. Food you would want to share.

I had baked her soft gingerbread, more like a cake, just a few weeks ago and happened to take photos of it. Little did I know that I would use these shots very soon to express my gratitude to one of this country’s leaders of American cooking. A woman who began her career in food writing around the age of 50.

As with many of Marion’s recipes, the ingredients are simple and the procedure straight-forward. It’s a two-bowl process that can be put together in little time.

Because the crumb is very soft, don’t turn it half-way through baking (which is what many bakers do) and don’t open the oven door to peek (which is what non-bakers do). In this case, the cake rose beautifully.

Looking good

Honestly, even when I bake this and the cake comes out with a bit of a crater in the center, it’s No Problem. The house still smells dreamy and the cake tastes divine. If it should do that to you, ignore and cut into squares before serving.

Russ Parsons, food writer for the LA Times, wrote a beautiful piece to honor Marion.

This is how Russ summed up what was important to Marion – “delicious, simple food served to people who mean the most to us”. His favorite book that she wrote is The Breakfast Book and he cites her yeast-raised waffles as his favorite recipe in it. I don’t own a waffle-maker because I tend to resist appliances with a single purpose. But I just may have to put that resistance aside to check out those waffles.

Thank you, Marion. We will keep your recipes and philosophy going…

Ginger Cake a la Marion

Light Ginger Cake

Adapted from Soft Gingerbread in Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book, © 1987


¾ c. sugar
¾ c. molasses
1 c. safflower or canola oil
3 eggs
¾ t. salt
1 t. cloves
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. flour ( or sub. 1 ½ c. flour & ½ c. whole wheat pastry flour)
2 t. baking soda
1 c. boiling water


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8” square pan.

Beat together sugar, molasses, oil and eggs in medium bowl. In separate bowl, mix salt, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, flour(s) and baking soda. Add to first mixture and stir until smooth. Add boiling water and beat briskly until you have a smooth thin batter.

Pour into pan and bake 40- 45 minutes.  Serve warm.

Makes 16 servings or 20 small servings.

  1. Novio permalink

    Very sweet post. Your heart is showing. PS The cake was delicious and moist as can be,

  2. Laura permalink

    What size baking pan do you use? Is Pyrex a good substitute for the metal ones I see you using? Also what do you think of using a loaf pan for this?
    Your BFF and baking lover, Lulubelle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: