Posts Tagged ‘April Bloomfield’

Three ginger cake

5 November 2014


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.

Sunday reading, in print | 03.06.2012

3 June 2012

For a couple of years I practically stopped buying cookbooks. I felt I owned quite a few and wanted to get better acquainted with those before acquiring new ones. But recently the temptation has been too great, so I’ve ended the moratorium.

I am hugely excited by April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig, which I’d awaited impatiently since my first meal at The Spotted Pig quite some years ago. The book lives up to the high expectations. It’s lovely, design and photography wise; it’s personal, from the introduction to the headnotes and of course the recipes themselves. For a mouth-watering preview, check out Lottie + Doof’s timely rendition of the rhubarb fool with cardamom cream, as well as the Amateur Gourmet’s enthusiastic post about curry, which Adam unabashedly calls The Best Curry of Your Life, though, in the book, April simply calls it ‘My Curry.’

Recently, I really enjoyed Joe Beef chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan’s interview in Lucky Peach magazine, all the deadpan talk about the grueling and sometimes outright unsavory realities of restaurant life. Had I known about the restaurant when we were in Montréal last summer I would have loved to go, though admittedly, as with another long-coveted Montréal dining experience Au Pied de Cochon, I would probably not have made a reservation in time anyway. For now I have the inspiring cookbook. And I am plotting to go back and be better prepared.

Have I mentioned how much I like Kurt Gutenbrunner’s restaurants? His beautiful recent cookbook includes the most beloved recipes — creamed spinach that is reason alone to go to Blaue Gans, the quark and paprika spread liptauer that should accompany every summer apéritif, gulash for the colder months… — but also unexpected stunners: ramp spaetzle! It is high time to acquire a spaetzle hobel.

And a happy surprise arrived right around my birthday a couple of months ago when my mother sent me Jennifer McLagan’s Odd Bits: How To Cook the Rest of the Animal. As the name clearly states, it’s all about cooking cheeks and tripe and brain and kidneys and such. Brilliant. Especially since a very real butcher recently opened very near us, one that receives entire carcasses and cuts them up right in front of you, tongue, head, trotters, and all. A truly accessible world of nose to tail eating lies ahead.

Happy Sunday!


Related posts

Sunday reading | 15.04.2012

Sunday reading | 26.02.2012

Sunday reading | 12.02.2012

Eating out | Thrice-cooked fries (but not only) at The Breslin

8 February 2012

Consider a game by which you make a hypothetical but definitive choice between two things. By choosing one you forgo the other for the rest of your life. You can apply this game to anything. Movies or television? Mountain or sea? Wine or spirits? Or — chips or fries? The last one was easy. I would have chosen neither. I’m pretty sure I could have lived happily ever after without either chips or fries. That is, until I tasted April Bloomfield’s thrice-cooked fries with cumin mustard.

Admittedly thrice-cooked fries are not the only reason to go to The Breslin. There’s the lamb burger that goes with it. There is the entirely sinful and irresistible three-grilled-cheeses sandwich. And also, in season, the kale salad. But I’ll take a step back.

About 8 years ago, just a few months after the Spotted Pig opened, I pitched a cookbook with April Bloomfield to the publisher for whom I worked. Or rather I suggested the idea. Granted, it may have been a little premature. Phaidon had barely embarked on its first cookbook, and it was still the restaurant’s very early days. But my motivation was selfish — I really wanted those recipes.

Because the maddeningly wonderful thing about the food at Bloomfield’s restaurants the Spotted Pig and The Breslin (I haven’t yet been to her latest the John Dory Oyster Bar) is that they feel like dishes one could make at home, but beyond the consistently flawless execution there is always a surprising and cryptic twist that makes them spectacular.

While the first thing that comes to mind with Bloomfield is often offal and pig’s ears (and they well deserve the attention), the dishes I still think about most often, longingly, many years later, are a revelatory artichoke stew; a simply perfect radish salad with basil and parmesan; the famous feather-light gnudi doused with butter and sage; the aforementioned fries served with cumin (cumin!) mustard; and just last week I had poached eggs over curried lentils for breakfast, which will certainly be added to that list. I don’t think I’ve had a disappointing dish in either place, and many are mind-bogglingly good. I will, insatiably, be going back for more.

And now very soon, in just a couple of months, that long awaited cookbook is coming out. Can’t wait.


The Breslin

16 West 29th Street (between Fifth Ave. and Bway)
New York, NY 10001


Open daily
Breakfast Mon-Fri 7am-11.45am
Lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm
Brunch Sat-Sun 7am-4pm
Dinner 5pm-12am


The Spotted Pig

314 West 11th Street (at Greenwich Street)
New York, NY 10014


Open daily
Lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm
Bar Menu from 3pm-5pm; Dinner from 5.30pm-2am
Brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm


Relates posts

Eating out | Up a cobbled street to Vinegar Hill House

Eating out | Brunch at Blaue Gans

Eating out | Fall soba noodles at Sobakoh

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