2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ginger
¾ tsp salt
½ cup soft shortening (lard or butter)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 medium egg, unbeaten
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water
Start heating your oven to 350F. Grease a 9x9x2 baking pan.
Sift together (or whisk together, in absence of a sifter) flour, soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
In large bowl use electric mixer set at medium speed to mix shortening and sugar, and then with egg, until very light and fluffy. Reduce to low speed, and beat in molasses (this reduces inadvertent wall-painting).
At low speed beat in, just until smooth, alternate small portions of flour mixture and hot water – JUST UNTIL SMOOTH. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness.
Works well either served hot with whipped cream, or alternatively, with a good chocolate or mocha frosting. Accompany w/ a strong cup of black coffee for best effect.