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Gingerbread

12/24/2011

I made this delicious gingerbread yesterday. It’s easy to prepare, and it works just as well without a fancy bundt pan. More important than the simplicity factor, though, is that this is the most flavorful, moist, and crowd-pleasing holiday ginger-treat that I’ve found.

Glazed Ginger Cake

I got this recipe from a relative. From the byline, it looks like one of Erika Bruce’s, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online. I usually promote the books and sites that I use as cooking resources, but I have no idea where this one came from. (Click on the image to get a printable PDF.)

Ginger Cake Recipe

The “secret ingredient” here is Guinness, or any basic stout. And much of the spiciness comes from fresh-grated ginger. Notice that the cake requires four teaspoons. This may not sound like a lot, but it is. I had to grate a fist of ginger to accumulate the full amount. So don’t skimp on quantity when buying the root for this recipe.

The best part of preparing this dessert is the point at which your butter-spice mix is blended into the other liquids. It smells heavenly.

Adding the Spices

I also use Vietnamese cinnamon rather than a mellower baking variety (Indonesian), specifically because it is so intense. Vietnamese cinnamon is more commonly used for spicy savories, and I have it on hand for making Indian food. To find out more about cinnamon types, and to buy them online, visit Penzeys.com. The site is not at all polished, but their products are excellent, and they have a nice print catalog, too. Before I found them, I knew nothing about cinnamon varieties, and it’s really made an impact on my choices. (Have to laugh, though, because I pretty much default to Vietnamese cinnamon on everything now. And it comes in sticks.)

And now a word about the cake pan. The first time I made this gingerbread, I didn’t have a pretty mold. I think I used smaller bread pans, and it was equally delicious. So if you don’t happen to have a tiered chrysanthemum cake pan just lying around the house, don’t worry. You can use something else. But if you go with smaller pans, check the cooking time a bit earlier. In the bundt mold, this was done at precisely 45 minutes.

Baking

The decorative pans are certainly festive, but they also require patience. The only part of this preparation that was difficult (and tedious) was prepping the pan. Although most of these pans claim to be non-stick, you still have to grease and flour the ones with complex nooks and crannies. But who wants a floury coating on their pretty dessert? I learned a trick from my mom and went overboard to make sure it worked this time.

Mom’s method is a double-coat on the oil. First brush shortening over the entire surface, paying extra attention to coating all of the the tight corners. Then dust everywhere lightly with flour and be sure to tap off all of the excess. Then use a spray canola oil to coat the pan using delicate spritzes. You don’t want to “melt” the layers; you just want to slick-up the flour enough that it won’t leave a white reside on your pretty cake. I actually did three rounds: another dusting and another spritz.

I am probably excessive.

Then again, it came out without a hitch. There were some bubbles that I didn’t get out, but it didn’t “grab” anywhere, and there was no unsightly white coating. I could have served it just as it came out of the oven, but who am I to resist a glaze?

Out of the Mold

About the glaze: If you don’t have ginger ale, you can just make a simple sugar glaze using water. Any basic glaze will do. I didn’t even use the full amount of ginger called for; a teaspoon was plenty. The “frosting” is just there for a hint of crispy sweetness and decoration. Unless you love ginger ale, plan to make a Pimm’s Cup, or already have it on hand, don’t stress about that part. Make it easy.

And Merry Christmas!

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From → Desserts, Food

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