I am not a big baker. I leave that to the precision experts like my father. My kind of cooking tends to gravitate to more savoury, spiced and packed with flavour. That said I do like an uncomplicated sweet recipe or in this case a double ginger cake. I don’t have a kitchen aid or anything fancy, instead when I bake a cake I like to do everything in a bowl, ideally by hand or a hand whisk if necessary. I was browsing through Nigel Slater’s ‘The Kitchen Diaries’ the other day – great book if you haven’t got a copy, otherwise one for the christmas list – and his double ginger cake stood out for three reasons. One it was ginger – I love ginger, two – it looked quick and easy to make and three – it did not require any specialist equipment.
My father’s belated birthday family lunch was the ideal excuse to try out Nigel’s recipe. After a long lingering lunch, cooked by my mother – parsnip soup for starters (above), followed by roast pork with fennel, finished off with blackberry and apple crumble, we donned winter coats and wellies and headed for the woods for a walk at dusk.
Upon returning the feasting continued with my ginger cake (and a coffee cake that the birthday boy had made himself – just in case no one else had made him a cake) and tea. It got the thumbs up all round. The sponge was moist and deliciously gingery and as there was no sight of icing, it was not too saccharine sweet.
Double Ginger Cake
Adapted from Nigel Slater’s Double Ginger Cake from ‘The Kitchen Diaries’
250g self-raising flour
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger powder
halt a tsp cinnamon powder
pinch of salt
200g golden syrup
2 tbsp syrup from the stem ginger jar
125g unsalted butter
3 lumps (about 53g) stem ginger in syrup, finely diced
2 tbsp sultanas (optional)
125g dark muscovado sugar
I used a 25cmx25cm tin (Nigel used one slightly smaller). I also think it would work well in a loaf tin.
- Line the tin with baking parchment and place to one side.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Sift the flour, ginger powder, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and place to one side.
- In a pan heat the golden and ginger syrup along with the butter, keeping it on a low heat.
- Add the finely diced ginger, sultanas (if using) and sugar to the pan. Stir allowing the sugar to dissolve completely for a couple of minutes before gently pouring it into the bowl with the flour and stirring all together so that the flour has been absorbed into the hot syrupy butter.
- In a small bowl break the eggs and using a fork gently beat them. Add to the milk before adding that into the bowl with the mixture.
- Pour into the lined baking tin and place in the oven for 35 minutes. You want to be able to able to insert a skewer and for it to come out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool completely, unless you are wanting to eat immediately that is. You can wrap it in foil and eat over the next few days – Nigel mentions allowing it to mature for a day or two will enhance the flavour further. Thankfully there are leftovers so I will be having a square every day for the next few days.