Thursday, June 21, 2007

Spice cake - a recipe

Cake baking ain’t a strength I'm afraid to say. Not that I don’t love reading about baking or, better still, eating baked goods, it’s just that I never seem to be able to achieve the results I crave. Too impatient methinks. When Wendy recently posted a call for easy, no fail cake recipes, I knew exactly how she felt.

So this recipe, adapted from one in ‘The Perfect Cookbook’ by David Herbert, is just the kind of thing for me – no need to lug out the Kitchenaid; no need to wait for butter to soften (no microwave in this little kitchen) and, best of all, not a lot to wash up afterwards. ‘Stress-free’ cake making, just as Mr H. suggests.

And the step-sons love it.

Cinnamon and ginger cake
This is quick to make and best eaten within a day or two. Don’t find that it usually lasts that long, especially if you make the gingery syrup to soak the cake that is suggested below.

60g (2oz) of unsalted butter
½ cup of golden syrup
1 cup of stoneground, wholemeal flour (or white flour)
1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of allspice
½ teaspoon of 'fragrant sweet spice’ (optional)
½ cup of caster sugar
½ cup of soy milk (or dairy milk if you like)
1 egg, free-range and organic, beaten

Preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F). Grease and line the base of a loaf tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan over a low heat. Cool.

Sift the flour, bi-carb soda, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Pour in the milk, followed by the egg and mix well with a fork. Gradually add the melted butter and golden syrup, stirring until well combined.

Pour into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes away clean. Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar if you like.

If you can wait that long.

A syrup to make it something special:
This is lovely as is, a sort of simple, fragrant afternoon tea cake. But you can smarten it up by making it into a sticky syrup cake. Mr H. suggests placing ½ cup of sugar, ½ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger in a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.

Mr H. says to spoon a little on top of the hot cake when it comes out of the oven. It then becomes dessert. I disagree. Pour the whole lot over the cake and things get even better. Especially when served with this yoghurt - the Greek one with a hint of honey is fantastic stuff.

Easy and good.


Anh said...

I think you are a good baker... look at this wonderfully moist cake, and I know!

This cake has all the spices we need to warm up our cold days.

Susan said...

A spice cake soaked in ginger syrup. Feel the love. Baking "might" not be your strength, Lucy, but this is sure my weakness.

Rosa said...

That photo of yoghurt with syrup is absolutely stunning. Can you tell me more about the yoghurt?

Wendy said...

Wow, Lucy, this looks and sounds amazing. I'm impressed!
I don't usually have much of a sweet tooth but the spiciness of this cake really appeals to me.

Johanna said...

looks great and I bet your kitchen smelt wonderfully homely and spicy. One of my favourite nostalgic smells is melted butter and golden syrup so maybe I need to try it just for that aroma. I am sure the cake was a great comfort.

Nora B. said...

Lucy, what a wonderful cake. I never thought of ginger syrup before (more used to lemon syrup) so this will be something new for me to try. Thanks!

Lucy said...

Thanks Anh - my mum is a wonderful baker. Me? I'd rather get on with the savoury stuff.

Oh, I'm feelin' the now love Susan!

Rosa, that's butter in the photo, but the yoghurt is the best thing - unhomogenized and with a thick, creamy layer on top. It's a very sexy thing!

Me neither Wendy, but the spices made it very appealing to me as well.

It did smell good here while it was baking Johanna. For me, any recipe that uses melted butter and golden syrup is a very fine thing.

Hi Nora - the ginger syrup pops up quite regularly in my kitchen. Good on ice cream too...

Christine said...

I just made haste to the kitchen, as fast as my sturdy little legs could could get me there. Cake in oven, and being watched like a hawk. Am tempted to be very old fashioned and put lemon icing on top.

Lucy said...

Hi Christine - lemon icing would be wonderful. Hope you love it.

SteamyKitchen said...

you are so very artful in your photo talented!

Lucy said...

Jaden, thank you so much.

Coming from you, that means something very special!