Monday, January 17, 2011

Baking Gingerly-Fresh Ginger Cake

 A new year, two new baking books and many new recipes to try.  It is always always somewhat overwhelming, because I look and read and kind of want to make everything.  The weather here has been very cold and snowy, so it is perfect weather for semi-hibernation and baking. I am still searching for the perfect gingerbread recipe, and decided to try a new one for a friend's birthday.  This is actually termed ginger cake, not gingerbread, so it is baked in a springform pan, not the usual square baking pan, and should be moister and less cakey than gingerbread.  The addition of quite a bit of fresh ginger makes it very spicy, but I served it with a suggested whipped cream lightened lemon curd which tones down the spice.  The amount of ginger could be reduced as well if you do not like it quite so spicy.  I'm not sure if I am getting closer to the gingerbread I am imagining- but it was very good.

Fresh Ginger Cake
from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

4 ounce piece of fresh ginger (115 gr), peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) mild-flavored molasses
1 cup (200 gr) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups (350 gr) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs at room temperature

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
     In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or with a chef's knife, chop the ginger until very fine. Set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper.  In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and then stir in the baking soda.  Whisk the hot water into the molasses mixture and then add the chopped ginger.  Gradually, sift the flour mixture over the molasses mixture, whisking to combine.  Add the eggs and whisk until thoroughly blended.
     Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 1 hour. I would suggest checking after 50 minutes and then every couple of minutes if not ready then. I let bake about 3 minutes too long. Let cool completely.  Run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the pan.  Invert the cake onto a plate, peel off the parchment paper and then reinvert onto a serving platter.  Serve with whipped cream lightened lemon curd.  ((post by Susan))

Lemon Curd

1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

     In a medium nonreactive saucepan over low heat, combine the lemon juice, sugar and the butter.  Set a mesh strainer over a medium bowl.  In another medium bowl, briefly whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.  When the butter has melted, whisk some of the warm liquid from the saucepan into the eggs, whisking constantly as you pour, and then stir the egg mixture into the saucepan.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the curd starts to thicken and looks slightly jelled. Don't let the mixture boil.  Pour the lemon curd through the strainer set over the bowl.  Cover, let cool, then refrigerated until chilled.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.  Fold the whipped cream into the chilled lemon curd. (or if you are like me, eat straight from the bowl!)

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