fresh ginger and molasses cake
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Like the old fashioned spice cake, this ginger and molasses cake by Samin Nosrat is dark, tender and smells like Christmas. The twist is fresh grated ginger added to the cake, beautifully offsetting the molasses flavour.
Dark, flavoursome and squidgy, with the grown-up sweet-smoky tang of molasses balanced with the zing of fresh ginger. I think you have to be a cake connoisseur to properly appreciate the dark ones – and I don’t mean the brownie from your local bakery or the chocolate muffin from Starbucks. I’m thinking the old fashioned continental ginger cake or the Yorkshire parkin. The French moelleux and fondants, all dark chocolate, hardly any sugar and no cream in their contents. The Guinness cakes, the whisky cakes, they are grown up not only through the taste but thanks to the booze content too.
The best thing about those is that you can’t just eat and eat them limitlessly; clearly the hardcore stuff, dark chocolate and molasses, have a higher satiety value than white chocolate or cookies. I know for a fact from own experience that dark chocolate with high cocoa content stops at two, max four squares while white chocolate or, heaven forbid, the one filled with lovely pink goo goes until the bar is gone.
The other wonderful thing is fresh ginger – maybe it’s just me but I have never made a cake with fresh instead of ground ginger (it probably is just me). This was a revelation; I could have happily added twice as much or maybe just MADE the cake from ginger. It balances the dark molasses flavour with a fresh zing and I am all determined now to bake fresh ginger gingerbread cake come next Christmas season.
And the fact that this is Samin Nosrat’s recipe makes it all simply great. Samin is my all-time favourite cookery writer and television personality – she is the least pretentious and the most informative. I devoured her Salt, Acid, Fat and Heat book as well as binge-watched her TV series. I only thought she did not do cakes – but she does. And how.
Note: you can easily adopt this recipe to make a full blown gateau for a special occasion: fill with buttercream, top with chocolate ganache or the other way round.
fresh ginger and molasses cakeServings: 8Time: 1 hour
- 60g (2 oz.) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 100g (½ cup) sugar
- 110g (½ cup) groundnut oil
- 170g (½ cup) molasses
- 175g (1½ cup) plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- a pinch of ground cloves
- a pinch of black pepper
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 110ml (½ cup) boiling water
- 1 large egg
- icing sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter and flour a round 18cm tin, line the bottom with a disc of parchment.
2. Blitz the ginger with sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. Grate the ginger finely and blend into the sugar if you haven’t got either. Transfer it to a medium bowl.
3. Add the molasses and oil to the mix and stir well. Pour in boiling water and whisk until amalgamated.
4. In a larger bowl, stir together the flour, spices, salt and soda. Pour in the liquid ingredients and whisk until lumps disappear. Whisk in the egg.
5. Pour the mix (very runny) into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
6. Cool in the tin, unmould and dust the top with icing sugar.