Friday, July 15, 2011

Whatcha makin'? Ginger cake

You can blame the title of this post on Lester, King of the Puns. I was trying to make Jamaican ginger cake, a British (or maybe Jamaican, at least British-associated) gingerbread/spice cake that's as dark, dense, and sticky as a spice cake could possibly be. This recipe is delicious, rich, and moist, but it's not quite up to Jamaican standards. I think subbing oil for the butter and upping the molasses (while keeping the evaporated milk and large quantities of grated ginger) would make it just about perfect. I'm still happy to have made it, partly because the blog it's from is pretty adorable. (Seriously, Jill and Toni, you need to click through those links. Girl makes some tall Brit cakes and reads some funny old-school cookbooks.)

2 sticks butter, softened
1 3/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t allspice
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 c brown sugar
~2 T grated ginger (from a couple inches of ginger root)
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c evaporated milk (I went with fat-free, did you see those two sticks of butter?)
2 eggs

Butter and flour a loaf pan, and preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. You think you're going to add the sugar and eggs next, but you're wrong—this recipe says to add the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg), so that's what I did. I mixed them in a little bowl first then beat them into the butter in two batches, making something that looks like streusel topping. Then beat in the sugar and grated ginger, making something that's starting to look like cookie dough. Heat the molasses and evaporated milk together in a little saucepan until warm and well mixed, then beat that into the batter. Finally, last but not least, beat in the eggs. The batter looks the same as if you did things in the normal order, but who knows? Maybe this crazy order made a difference. (If you're trying the oil-for-butter substitution, forget all that and just do the typical "mix all the wet ingredients in one bowl, mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl, mix one into the other" schtick.)

Pour the batter into the loaf pan (mine was about 3/4 full). Bake for 55 min: 45-50 min until a toothpick comes out clean, then another 5-10 min until it looks like it won't collapse too badly. Cool in the pan overnight, try a slice for breakfast while waiting for my REI goodies, then bring the rest into the office for Chris's practice qual in the afternoon.

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