I’m slightly obsessed with turning this antler-esque, sweet and savoury recipe straddling root into the most perfect cake. There are photos on my iCloud storage depot of failed efforts galore that have not made it to my Facebook page let alone my blog. Not that any of them are inedible by a long mark but still, not until today do I feel ready to share a ginger cake recipe with you all. This scorched savannah sunset of a cake is almost there. So close in fact, I have to share it now before I fiddle and make it truly my own.
I stumbled upon the recipe during my hunt for an official Dan Lepard link to the carrot cake recipe I blogged about last here. I almost made it before the carrot cake but I just had to make that one first (it’s the best big cake I’ve made in a very long time). But instead, I saved it until we had been without cake for a few days so I felt justified in making another one, hehehe. What can I say? It keeps exceptionally well so me and Hungry Hubs have been sneaking a little slice here, a slightly bigger slice there for at least four days and it just gets better each time. (Those readers who are also part of the weight loss group I administrate on Facebook, please close your ears to this post – it’s a moment of weakness born from the impending doom of my just completed set of nights at work. I’m very human after all it seems lol!). The crumb is oh so moist by the virtue of using stacks of finely chopped ginger rather than the more classical stem ginger with/without the pungent dried and ground ginger, plus instead of butter, one uses a flavourless oil. I use rapeseed. We’ll just ignore the quantity of both the oil and the golden syrup also employed to sweeten and moisten the crumb and reassure ourselves that lesser recipes would have us pour over some form of syrup to impart such a crumb and stickiness to the cake on baking. Oh I’m so naughty!
The unusual use of fresh ginger in such a large quantity together with not only a small amount of the warming spices of cinnamon, gloves and ginger but a hefty half teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper lifts the cake to a whole new and fresh tasting level. Don’t be scared – the pepper adds to the heat of the ginger rather than coming though as a taste in itself. Think of it as a flavour enhancer in the way sea salt lifts savoury dishes or even caramel, making it more sweet – a slightly counterintuitive addition but one that has only to be experienced once to convert any skeptic.
As for the texture if the cake, well, as this is an oil cake, it straightaway produces a lighter, softer bake than one made by traditionally creaming butter with sugar does. In fact, it is almost a gingerbread recipe as it utilises the addition of bicarbonate of soda, whisked rapidly into boiled water then poured quickly into the syrup and oil mixture. It gives a bounce to the cake which belies the lack of creaming as well as the lack of whisking the eggs beyond breaking them down and incorporating them into the batter.
David Lebovitz, whose recipe this is, advises the cake may keep for up to five days or my be successfully frozen for upto a month. Which is a good thing as it is a monster – 9 inches in diameter and boy does it puff up on baking! It eats very well still warm from the oven but as all syrup sodden cakes, they get more sticky upon keeping wrapped well for a few days. I’m never very good at waiting for such things though so it can only be a good thing that it is such a large cake ;).
Plain and warm, it would make an excellent addition to any afternoon tea table. It would make a heart warming gift too especially as us in the northern hemisphere are inching (in my summer-loving case a little hesitantly) ever closer to winter. Ginger and its slow burning spicy heat always reminds me of cooler days where an extra jumper or cardy are mandatory to get through the day. Days where you’ve wrapped up warm and been for a bracing walk, your cheeks pink from the chill wind in the nippy air, ice blue skies abounding with the odd fluffy white cloud. You put the kettle on, I’ll get the tea pot and we’ll both have a streaming hot cuppa and a sticky slab of this cake. Makes it worth your while saying goodbye to summer for another year doesn’t it?
A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side is ever our favourite accompaniment to an otherwise plain but freshly baked cake though. David himself recommends a lemon curdy mascarpone cream on the side or for those wishing to go the extra mile, a plum and cinnamon compote on the side. My fuzzy orange hubby and I are currently running on storecupboard rations as my first month at work has seen me be a little too extravagant but believe me, next time – that compote will be mine!
And lastly if you have a ginger cake recipe which you love, I’d love you to share it in the comments section below this post. Whilst this cake is absolutely lovely, an easy bake and definitely satisfies my ginger-addiction, I feel out there, somewhere, lies the Ne Plus Utlra ginger cake recipe, waiting to be baked at Casa Blogs! If it has lemon in there somewhere too, I’ll be extra interested in it. Just saying. 😉
- 115g piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 250ml golden syrup
- 200g sugar
- 250ml vegetable oil
- 350g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 250ml water
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 23cm springform tin.
- Turn the ginger to a rough purée with a small food processor or mince finely with a knife.
- In a big bowl, whisk together the golden syrup, sugar, and oil.
- In another, whisk together the flour and spices.
- Bring the water to a boil in a small pan then stir in the bicarbonate of soda, whisking immediately into the larger bowl with the syrup mixture. Add the ginger.
- Whisk in the flour mixture then pour into your prepared tin and bake for approx 1 hour - it will be well risen and will spring back o the touch when pressed gently.
- Cool in the tin then slice and serve.