Last week, just before autumn, I made a cake for some friends: an “Almost Fall” cake, scented with cinnamon and ginger,  to remind us that good things are just around the corner.  It’s Gramercy Tavern’s famous gingerbread – one of New York City’s greatest places, and on my list for an upcoming October trip. Just knowing I have that plane ticket, and that there will be Central Park, and leaves underfoot, equals joy. Also, I don’t see the point of cake without frosting  — come on, New York. Let me help you with that. And so, I added a big cream cheese frosting cloud. And vintage flashcards, which I bought in New York. Joy all around.

The recipe is here. I baked half in mini loaf pans and half in a 9-inch springform cake pan.  It has Guinness in the mix – which means that someone lucky in your house who likes Guinness will need to see about the rest. (Our house – no takers.)

And then, as ever, I added the Barefoot Contessa’s cream cheese icing.

Taste-tested, of course.

Lazy, easy frosting job — covered up with sparkling sugar.

A taste for me:

This is the quintessence of gingerbread: heady and rich, the spices almost sting the tongue. And the baking cake makes your house smell like Christmas cloves, autumnal cinnamon, and all the hope of the new seasons.

That’s a lot of promise, for a cake.