This is the cake that I made for my friend, Francois and his family. Francois is from Haiti and loves Gingerbread. I chose this recipe because of the election and spice cakes with liqueur were traditionally served around Election time and were given out to curry favor with voters. I also love to make historical recipes from time to time; it gives us a glimpse into how the early Americans ate so long ago. Mary Ball Washington was George Washington's mother and was known to be quite an hostess.
Mary Ball Washington's Gyngerbread recipe. (circa 1784)
From Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts pages 276-77 copyright 1982
I have made some changes to the directions as per your requirements but I still wanted to give proper credit.
Serves 16 squares or 32 slices
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons mace
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 ounces (1 cup) raisins (I used sultanas aka yellow raisins)
4 oz (1 stick sweet unsalted butter)
1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, firmly packed (I used light brown sugar)
1/2 cup light molasses
1/2 cup dark molasses (or 1 cup of either dark or light molasses)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup bourbon, dark rum, brandy or sherry
1.2 cup whole milk
3 eggs (graded large), beaten to mix
1/4 cup orange juice (grate the rind before squeezing to use below.
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons warm water
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan and set aside.
Sift together the first seven ingredients and set aside. Cover the raisins with boiling water, let stand for about 5 minutes, and drain well. Spread raisins on paper towels to dry.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft, add the brown sugar, and beat to mix. Then, add both molasses and honey and beat well. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the liqueur and milk in one addition, and the eggs and the orange juice in another. Then, dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and mix into the batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the grated orange rind and the raisins. Turn into the buttered pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip.
When the cake is cool use a long, thin, sharp knife to cut it into slices. Serve with buttermilk or ice cream.