I can’t help myself. I love baking and the holiday unit we’re in has a fully equipped kitchen. When I say fully equipped, it doesn’t come with a cake mixer, not even a hand held set of egg beaters, but it has a microwave and an oven and a set of bowls.
I bought a whisk, measuring cups and spoons and yes, the kitchen scales. We also packed a small kitchen knife (we’ve learnt from experience that the knives don’t get sharpened, it is after all, a holiday home.) and I grabbed a number of pantry items like Cinnamon (shh, don’t tell Mr Fussy), Brown Sugar, a ziplock bag with Sultanas and Raisins and the pourable Golden Syrup bottle. Oh, and the package of yeast sachets. You never know.
We arrived a little after 4pm Saturday, and before dinner I’d made Lemon Curd. At home I was rummaging around the freezer for pork and came across a big ziplock bag of lemon juice and 4 yolks. Perfect, I could make lemon curd. Then as we were unpacking Mr Fussy asked if I’d spotted the lemon trees. Bonus! Which came in handy because the big ziplock bag of lemon juice had a small tear on the seam and a good portion of it had leaked into the chilly bin.
There is a point to harping on about the lemon curd. The original recipe I barely adapted (just the proportions), goes on to say it would be good with Ginger pudding.
Before heading out for a run this morning I made pancake batter and whipped some cream. It took an age to whisk which is why there’ll be no pav or anything that requires whipping. I mixed some curd with the whipped cream and was all set for “breakfast”. Having made a double batch of lemon curd I was pretty intent to make a ginger cake. I knew Mr Fussy would be more than happy to accommodate my baking needs.
I wanted to pop along to the Library (for books on Peony Roses, Ranunculas and Magnolias) so took a quick peek at some recipe books. I came across a recipe by Nigel Slater for Double Ginger Cake. Even though I took a photo and followed it, I later found the recipe online, so I’ve included a link to that, below.
Another pantry item I brought with us was Self Raising Flour. It was all falling into place for the recipe. The Muscavado (I did bring brown sugar) sugar I bought as I did for the Ginger and Baking Soda. I grabbed a piece of root ginger from the supermarket after failing to find any Stem Ginger. Actually I didn’t know what Stem Ginger was.
Stem ginger is the bit of ginger that’s underground, if my Google search, and memory, can be relied upon. I made do with the root ginger which I’ve described in the “My Notes” section below.
The syrup that was made while the ginger was simmering away really packed a punch. Only a few tablespoons were used in the recipe. Mr Fussy was very pleased with the flavours of the syrup.
The recipe has both Ginger spice, the chopped up “Stem Ginger” and the syrup made during the “preserving” of the ginger.
What I didn’t drag with me is my tripod. Turns out I take very shaky photos and with the light fading I needed even more to be able to keep the camera still. No chance. So now we get to some photos taken with my phone camera.
I also didn’t bring along any baking paper, but like I used to do when I was a much younger girl, I used the wrapping from the block of butter. How old school is that?
The recipe calls for a couple of good tablespoons of sultanas. I tried to encourage Mr Fussy to separate out the raisins from the sultanas but he took one look at the bag I packed and protested saying it wouldn’t matter if there were some raisins. And I agree. On the whole I’d have to say you could flag the fruit altogether. I don’t think it really added anything to the cake.
- 250 g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of fine salt
- 200 g golden syrup
- 2 tbsp syrup from the jar of stem ginger
- 125 g butter
- 3 lumps preserved stem ginger, about 55g
- 2 tbsp sultanas, heaped
- 125 g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 240 ml milk
1. Line the bottom of 20cm square cake tin.
2. Heat the oven to 180C. Sift the flour with the ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
3. In a small saucepan pour in the golden syrup and ginger syrup. Cut up the butter into smallish chunks and place that also into the saucepan. Warm the ingredients over a low heat.
4. Dice the stem ginger finely, then add it to the pan with the sultanas and muscavado sugar. Let the mixture bubble gently for a minute, giving it the occasional stir to stop the fruit sticking on the bottom.
4. Break the eggs into a bowl, pour in the milk and beat gently to break up the egg and mix it into the milk.
5. Pour the butter and sugar mixture into the bowl with the flour. With a large metal spoon, stir the liquid into the dry ingredients until smooth. Mix in the milk and eggs. The mixture should be sloppy, with no trace of flour.
6. Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Unless you are serving it warm, leave the cake in its tin to cool, then tip it out on to a sheet of greaseproof paper. Wrap it up in foil and, if you can, leave it to mature for a day or two before eating.
For the preserved ginger: Peel an slice root ginger into even chunks. Blanch the ginger pieces 3 times in boiling water letting the ginger it for around 10 seconds at a time. In a small pot measure 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Place the blanched ginger pieces into the pot and bring the syrup to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool for an hour before placing into a jar which is stored into the fridge. When the syrup had cooled to warm I then used the syrup and cut up the pieces finely for the cake recipe.
I had a fairly shallow 20cm cake tin and was worried the batter would raise and spill over the sides so I poured some of the batter into a glass loaf tin. If you use a 22cm square baking tin you’ll likely get all the batter into the tin.
We had half of the loaf pan cake with some Lime and Cream Cheese frosting I dragged from the freezer just moments before leaving home. I’m not sure if that sort of ruined it or not. The frosting was lovely, but there wasn’t as much ginger flavour as I had expected. The cake had such a lovely texture, a quite light cake for a ginger cake. It wasn’t dense or heavy.
I’m looking forward to it in a couple of days. Just perfect for my birthday. Though I fully expect before then we’ll have polished off the remainder of the other half of the loaf pan baked cake. There’s still the lemon curd, and if I can muster the strength, more cream to be whipped. I think we’ve got pudding sorted, with a few serving variations, for the first half of the week.