Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fresh Ginger Spice Cake: Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few

It’s a terrible thing when you make a mistake in a recipe and then that recipe is printed somewhere for the whole world to see. In a magazine, for instance or, even worse, a book. It’s happened to me more than once, I must admit, and it’s no good at all. Baking and 

dessert ingredients are not cheap, and when a recipe goes awry because of my mistake, I recognize it as a personal failure. When I was editing Chocolatier magazine, we occasionally printed a recipe that was missing an ingredient or had the wrong amount listed. 

Readers would inevitably call me, and I would explain how it happened and beg their forgiveness. My last book, The Cake Book, has an error in one of the recipes, and I’ve gotten several emails about it, so I thought this blog would be a good place to let the error 

and correction be known. The problem is in Fresh Ginger Spice Cake – to my horror, somehow, I left out the leavening. I’d like to call it a printing error, but that would be a fib. I have no clue how it happened, and all I can do is apologize and draw your attention to it. 

It’s a lovely, very gingery and very moist cake when you do add the baking soda, and makes a delightful accompaniment to a fresh strawberry and rhubarb compote and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For a more polished look, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar or frost it with a cream cheese frosting. 

Fresh Ginger Spice Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 10
Storage: at room temperature under a cake keeper or covered with foil for up to 5 days.

2 1/2 cups (10.7 oz/302 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely (1.9 oz oz/53 g) chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup (240 ml) mild molasses
3/4 cup (5.7 oz/163 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (2.8 oz/79 g) finely chopped fresh gingerroot
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup (240 ml) water
2 teaspoons baking soda
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting top of cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (click for recipe)
Vanilla ice cream for serving

Make the cake:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, cut to fit.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Place the crystallized ginger in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture. Stir to coat the ginger pieces and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses and brown sugar, breaking up any large lumps of sugar. Whisk in the eggs until well blended. Whisk in the finely chopped gingerroot.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and water and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Stir in the baking soda – the mixture will fizz a bit. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the molasses mixture until blended. Whisk in the remaining butter mixture. Whisk in the flour mixture just until blended. Whisk in the flour-coated crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the side of the springform pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, reinvert the cake and let it cool completely. 
6. Dust the top of the cake with sifted confectioners’ sugar before serving.

7. Serve a slice of the cake with the compote and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.