Ever since I made the Ultimate Ginger Cookies 3 days ago I have been craving gingerbread. I can’t get it off my mind. What the heck, I should probably just make some. So when 5:15 am came Saturday morning I decided that was the perfect time to start my baking.

The batter seemed a little too sweet and runny. So I didn’t know how the baked product would turn out. It was my first time in years to make gingerbread. I don’t know why I have waited so long. In past fall seasons I think I have been so focused on pumpkin and mint that I forgot about gingerbread. Not this year my friend, not this year. Gingerbread is reining supreme so far in the 2009 fall baking season. And since this bread uses no oil or butter and even has some whole wheat flour, you don’t have to feel as guilty for indulgling in it.

When the bread puffed up perfectly, I was so happy. And then when I tasted it, oh my word, success! The lemon is sort of an odd component to add to the cake. But it gives it an extra freshness. You could use orange as well and that would be wonderful. But just don’t omit it!

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1 cup 1% milk (you can use non-fat or whole also)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Grease your pan of choice with Pam.

Pan options:
24 Cupcake Pan (Bake for only about 20 minutes)
9 inch loaf pan
9 inch round cake pan (bake for about 30-35 minutes)
Set aside.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Set aside.

In a separate bowl of your electric mixer, beat the applesauce and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and molasses and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool completely and then frost (I just used chocolate frosting from a can for the little cake. Remember, it was 5:15 Saturday morning. Making gingerbread was enough of an accomplishment that early).