Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fresh Ginger Spice Cake

This was another office birthday effort, and alas it is likely to be the last one. The group is getting bigger, and I find myself lacking the time and energy to put together something appropriately impressive pretty much every month. Maybe some day I'll be back in a place where I can do that, but right now I feel like I'm not being fair to some people.

Unfortunately, I can't say I was thrilled with this cake, the first less than stellar result I've gotten from The Cake Book. Everyone claimed to like it, and it all disappeared, but it's not really to my taste (of course, it wasn't my birthday, either). I was dubious about it the entire time; the baking method is certainly like nothing I've ever made before.

My boss (who is English) seemed to think it was just fine, so it may be that it it fits in with a more European style; my own term of description was "primitive." You could have made a cake like this 200 years ago, though probably not with fresh ginger.

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 c unsulphured molasses
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 c peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
1 c unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 c water
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Place the crystallized ginger in a small bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of the flour mixture, and stir to coat the ginger pieces. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses and brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Whisk in the eggs until well blended. Whisk in the chopped fresh ginger. 
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and water and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk about 1/4 cup of the butter mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended. Whisk in the remaining butter mixture. Whisk in the flour mixture until just blended. Whisk in the crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the pan. 
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the sides of the pan and invent the cake onto a rack. Peel off the parchment paper and reinvert the cake. Let it cool completely. 
  7. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving (I used whipped cream).

It is very, very dense and moist, and the flavor of ginger sings out loud and clear. If you know someone who likes that, and who doesn't expect a lot of sweetness from their cakes, this might be worth a try.

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