It was a lazy Sunday morning, so thought I would give this recipe a whirl. Let me tell you, I was feeling a little Martha Stewart-ish when I discovered that I had NOT ONLY all of the necessary spices, but also a full, unopened jar of molasses. Molasses! Who keeps that just lying around? I considered myself a kitchen goddess for all of ten seconds, because that's when I noted the best by date on the jar: February 2007. How embarrassing. Oh, well. On to the spice cabinet. Ginger - check! Allspice - check! Cloves - check! Cinnamon - check!
All expired? Check! Good grief. The ginger was so old it didn't even have a Best By date on it. Fear not. Apparently, I used to have OCD and had written the purchase date on the bottom of the jar.
Does that say 2002 or 2007? Oh, surely I haven't had that in the cabinet for seven years. I did a quick search on the internet for "the shelf life of spices" which led me to the McCormick's website (duh) where I found a handy dandy spice-o-meter. If your spice jar doesn't have a Best By date, you just enter the code on the bottom of the jar and the city of manufacture. I did that, and this was the result I got:
Yep. 2002. Expired. And don't call me Shirley.
Undaunted by the fact that the main ingredient was seven years old, I proceeded to make the recipe anyway. That's when - using a knife to break the seal on the molasses jar - the knife slipped and cut my thumb.
Good grief. It hurt worse than it looks and it was bleeding! It still hurts today, but don't you worry about me. I washed it up and put on a Band Aid. The remainder of the recipe went without incident. However, can I say I hate loaf pan recipes? I had way too much batter for that one pan. Fortunately, I had some mini pans. Even though I doubt Martha would use aluminum disposable pans, I poured the extra batter in them. The two little loaves cooked up perfectly in about 23 minutes, but it took the regular sized pan about 15 minutes longer than the recipe called for. As a result, the edges were a lot darker than I would have liked.
The mini loaf popped out of its pan easily and was absolute perfection. Considering the fact that half of my ingredients were expired, it tasted pretty darn good. My Martha Mojo resurfaced a little at this point, and I got a little cocky. Trying to take the cake out of the pan before it completely cools is not a good idea.
This is Exhibit A after I tried to smush it all back together:
Amanda from Bake It Pretty, suggests wrapping the cake in plastic and serving it the next day. Excellent idea. The flavor gets stronger and the hard edges I was worried about softened. I took it to work where it disappeared quickly. I've noted before my co-workers may not be the best gage of good eats as they remind me of the hyenas in The Lion King.
Unless, of course, they're raving about my quasi Martha Stewart-type offerings.