Gingerbread is one of those terms that are generic in the definition for a broad category, in this case, something made from ginger, cinnamon, clove, and a sweetener like molasses and sugar. Although “bread” is in the name it can produce great cakes, cookies, bars, and of course, bread.
One of the reasons gingerbread is ideal for cooking on the grill is because it contains bold flavors of spices and molasses. I’ll be taking a traditional recipe for gingerbread and introducing the cooking to the grill that I’m equipping with wood chunks for a unique wood flavoring.
You’re going to love the dense, flavorful result that is the perfect recipe to keep on hand for those unexpected and expected guests.
If you follow my gas grill recipes, then you know I am a fan of the two-zone cooking method. By lighting the burners on only half the grill and placing the food on the unlit side, I can guarantee controlled temperature that allows me to walk away as I do with my indoor oven.
I start by preheating my grill by lighting the burners on just one side. I want a cooking temperature of 325°F so I’ll set the dials to low. On the lit side, I also add a metal smoker box that contains 3 wood chunks. By the time my batter is mixed, the wood chunks will be smoking for the cooking of the gingerbread.
First, I butter and flour an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside (you can use the non-stick cooking spray if you prefer). There is only one mixing bowl needed for this recipe to combine the following ingredients and beat until combined well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed:
2–1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
¾ cup hot water
1 tablespoon crème Fraiche
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
Once mixed, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and get ready to put it on the grill.
Tasting Notes: My non-traditional ingredient is the addition of the crème Fraiche. I use this only when making a cake or loaf as if used for cookie batter, this would be too thin. Remember, there are many variations to a gingerbread recipe. Bolder flavors can be produced through the addition of ground clove and nutmeg. For sweeter versions, adding honey or condensed milk. Remember, molasses was used in baking centuries ago as a means of saving money due to the high cost of sugar.
With the batter poured, we are ready to wood grill the cake. Place the prepared pan on the unlit side of the grill, making sure that the grill’s temperature is close to 325°F. Now you can walk away for about 35 minutes. Return at that point to simply rotate the cake pan and ensure the cake is cooking evenly. If the wood chunks are completely black, you may want to add a couple of more. Total grill-baking time will be 50–55 minutes. Remove from the grill and cool the cake on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.
Tasting Notes: I prefer to serve this version of gingerbread with butterscotch sauce and whipped topping but other choices include melted semi-sweet chocolate, orange sauce, and even a cream cheese frosting.