Scary and Spicy Double Ginger Cake

Sometimes I found myself having a little piece of crystallized ginger. That brings memories of my home town, when for about three years I used to hike the Avila Mountain, 5 to 6 times a week, before sunrise. Once we got to Sabas Nieves, the forest ranger station, the reward was always, invariably, a ginger candy that my good friend and mentor Luis Vezga-Godoy used to buy at the Chinese market in Caracas.

Now that I have my family, the truth is that with no exceptions, we all love ginger. We love ginger snaps, ginger cookies, ginger bread, ginger bread people, and of course ginger cake. I use fresh, powder and crystallized ginger to bake all those goodies and the result is always the same: the whole house smelling like heaven, children making lollipops with the spatula not to waste a single drop of the batter and everybody happy, because we all agree ginger is one of our favorite species.

Tomás Eugenio
Today´s recipe is a double ginger cake. It pairs nice with tea and also after dinner, as a flavorful, yet delicate dessert. It’s definitely the perfect coffee cake. When it’s still warm, you can enrich it by adding a light syrup made out of rum on top and letting the cake absorb the liquid for one day, so the rum and the spice flavor definitely are enhanced and the cake is moisturized. This was not the case of the cake in the pictures and I’ll tell you why.

I over baked the cake 15 minutes, enough to make it a little bit drier and to have a thicker crust. I wanted to have a flat and dry surface to put the stencil to create the scary Halloween effect, so the children could have fun with the spiders and the epitaph.

Since this cake almost doubles its height in the oven and rises like a perfect dome, after letting it completely cool down I cut the dome to make it flat and then turned the cake upside down. Once in the cake plate, I put the stencil and the confectioner sugar et voila: my double ginger cake is a scary Halloween cake!

I found the recipe in Williams Sonoma website and the stencils are Martha Stewart’s. Because Halloween is one night a year and ginger love is year-round, the following recipe is for the regular, not over baked cake.

Spicy Double Ginger Cake | Ingredients for 12-14 portions
3 cups of all purpose flour
2 Tsp. of baking powder
½ Tsp. of salt
¼ Tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg
¼ Tsp. of ground cinnamon
¼ Tsp. of ground cloves
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 ½  cups of granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 Tsp. of finely grated fresh ginger
2 Tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of milk
1 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger, tossed with 1 Tbs. of flour

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Mix the flour, baking powder and dry spices in a mixing bowl and set aside. In another mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer for 1 minute on low speed. Add the sugar, increase the speed and beat it for about 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add one egg at time beating for 1 minute each time until incorporated. Occasionally scrap down the sides of the bowl. When the mixture is creamy add the fresh ginger, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and incorporate the flour and the milk alternating and beginning and ending with the flour. When everything is incorporated, fold the crystallized ginger with a spatula.

Pour the batter in the previously prepared cake pan and bake it for about one hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool the cake upright in the pan for 10 minutes.

Ingredients for the rum glaze
1 cup granulated sugar
½  cup water
1 Tbs. of rum
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the granulated sugar and water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Generously brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

To print the recipe click here.

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