In one shape or another, sweet, spicy gingerbread has been popular for centuries. During the 1600s, in fact, gingerbread making was such serious business that only certain bakers had rights to make it. Thankfully, there's since been a separation of kitchen and state, so grab your apron and whip up this delightful cakelike version.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and water. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for about a minute, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 9 servings.