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Silver Palate Cookbook Gingerbread and the Junior League of Palo Alto’s Foamy Hard Sauce



If you’ve been baking forever you probably understand the appeal of classic old cookbooks.

Two of my absolute favorites are the Silver Palate Cookbook and A Private Collection from the Junior League of Palo Alto. Not only do these cookbooks bring back many poignant memories for me (losing a beloved spouse seems to have made this admitted sentimental fool even more sentimental), the recipes within the books are just outstanding. 

Many people think of gingerbread as cookies but this is actually a very flavorful, moist cake simply baked in 9 inch square baking pan. The sauce is to die for. These are old classics and they don’t disappoint.


Butter, for greasing the pan

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring the pan

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup sugar

½ cup molasses

½ cup boiling water

½ cup vegetable oil

1.      Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 inch square baking pan.

2.      Sift the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl. Add the egg, sugar and molasses. Mix well.

3.      Pour the boiling water and the oil over the mixture. Stir thoroughly until smooth.

4.      Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set on the center rack of the oven and bake until the top springs back when touched and the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes.

5.      Cool slightly in the pan then set on a cooling rack.

The original recipe calls for a lemon glaze of some sort but for today, we’ll do the Foamy Hard Sauce that follows.




Foamy Hard Sauce

Delightful over ginger bread or persimmon steamed pudding.

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened

4 egg yolks, beaten

2 ounces sherry or brandy

Pinch of salt

1 cup heavy cream 

1.      In top of double boiler (or Bain Marie) with a whisk or electric beater, cream together sugar and butter. When light, add beaten yolks, brandy and salt, beating well.

2.      Heat cream until hot but do not boil. Add slowly to rest of ingredients, continuing to beat well.

3.      Place over boiling water (double boiler/Bain Marie), stirring with a whisk until the sauce is the thickness of cream but do not allow it to boil.

4.      This stores well in the refrigerator and may be carefully reheated over warm water.




That’s it for today! Thank you for stopping by!