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Molasses Spice Cake

I've never considered myself much of a cake person. Actually, I should re-word that: I adore cake. But when it comes to baking, pie takes the... cake. (????) Pie wins. In my book, pie always wins.

But I found myself in a cake-baking mood recently, and I couldn't resist. And so I peeked into my pantry, which is stuffed full of those out-of-the-box ingredients that have only been used once or twice -- sprinkles, molasses, powdered milk, bread flour and the like. Molasses, especially, was looking a bit lonely. I'd used it during the holiday season to make the softest, darkest, most delicious molasses cookies from Baking Illustrated, and it's been sitting -- actually sticking, literally -- in the pantry ever since. And I felt a little sorry for it, so I decided to bake a cake.

The recipe is adapted from Taste of Home, with a quick cream cheese frosting from Chowhound. And please excuse my sub-par frosting skills. (I'm in dire need of a frosting lesson from my Pastry Chef brother.)

Molasses Spice Cake

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Cake!

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9-inch cake pan.

In a small bowl, beat butter and sugar until slightly crumbly, 2-3 minutes. Beat in egg, then molasses. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to butter mixture alternating with hot water, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Pour cake batter into cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting!

Once the cake has cooled, invert onto a wire rack/parchment paper/some sort of solid surface. I don't own a cake stand, but good gracious would I love to. Use this if you're so lucky to have one.

Combine all frosting ingredients in a stand mixer or in a large bowl, and beat until light and whipped, about 4 minutes. Frost that cake like a pro, or frost it like me with the back of a spoon. Slice and enjoy!

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