The best cake in my world.
Were we to play the hypothetical game by which I had to pick one single dessert, to the exclusion of all others, for the rest of my life, I would choose this one. It is incredibly moist and sticky, intensely gingery spicy — need I say more?
The recipe is by April Bloomfield, from her engrossing book A Girl and Her Pig, which is full of anecdotes and brilliant recipes. I made two very small changes.
Since I couldn’t find ‘light molasses’ anywhere, I substituted with a mix of blackstrap and honey. Bloomfield pointedly specifies against using blackstrap hence the mix. I played around with the quantities and using more than 1/3 cup blackstrap makes the taste overpowering. Also, I added bits of candied ginger to make it a ‘three’ ginger cake because… Well, just because.
Ginger cake by April Bloomfield A Girl and Her Pig
8 Tbsps (1/2 cup or 110 g) butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup light molasses (or 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses and 1/2 cup light liquid honey)
1 tsp baking soda
1 packed cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely grated fresh ginger
Two handfuls candied ginger (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC) with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter an 8-inch springform cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper. Place the tin on a baking sheet (because the cake will probably leak a bit through the springform).
Sift the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking powder together into a medium bowl. Stir well.
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in a small pot. Add the molasses (and honey if using) and the baking soda. Stir until everything is well dissolved. It seems like a lot of water but trust the wizard here — it works!
Beat the butter and sugar heftily for a few good minutes, until light and fluffy as they say. Add the egg and mix until it is well incorporated. Add the grated ginger and mix again until combined.
Now add about 1/3 of the flour/spice mixture. Mix well. Then 1/3 of the molasses mixture and stir well. Repeat this, in thirds, until everything is combined. The mixture will be very wet. Again — it works.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and carefully (because it is so liquid!) place it in the oven, with the baking sheet underneath of course.
Now very thinly slice the pieces of candied ginger.
After about 15 minutes in the oven, as swiftly as possible in order to not disturb the cooking, pull out the cake and evenly sprinkle the finely sliced candied ginger. **This is done now because if the candied ginger is added before the cake goes into the oven, everything falls to the bottom.**
Bake for another 45 minutes (the cake bakes for about an hour altogether), until a knife point comes out almost clean and no longer wet. Let cool a little before removing the ring from the springform.
Bloomfield likes this cake still warm. I loved it the next day. In any case I’d serve it with a big dollop of clotted cream.