Sticky Ja­maican gin­ger cake

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - LORRAINE SPECIAL -

I was born in Bri­tain, not Ja­maica. I would love to give you sto­ries of how I would sit with the fam­ily in Kingston on a balmy evening while a cake baked in the oven, but it’s not so. The first time I ate ginger­bread was in Lad­broke Grove in the 1990s. There was a tiny res­tau­rant on All Saints Road – ba­si­cally a Ja­maican lady’s front room – serv­ing the most awe­some food and cakes. It’s not tra­di­tional for ginger­bread, but I like to use stem gin­ger.

SERVES 8-10

250ml but­ter­milk or 250ml whole milk and juice of ½ lemon 225g self-rais­ing flour 4 tsp ground gin­ger good pinch of ground nut­meg 1 tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda 115g but­ter, cold and cut into cubes (I use salted) 115g dark brown sugar 115g black trea­cle 115g maple syrup, plus ex­tra 1 tbsp for brush­ing on top 2 x 2cm stem gin­ger pieces, drained and finely chopped (about 2 tbsp) 1 egg

EQUIP­MENT 1.2 litre loaf tin

1 If you’re mak­ing your own but­ter­milk, put the milk and lemon juice in a jug and al­low it to sit for 20 min­utes. 2 Pre­heat the oven to 170C (fan 150C/325F/ gas 3) and line the loaf tin with bak­ing parch­ment. I usu­ally put a strip along the whole length of the tin, mak­ing sure that it comes well over the edges. This makes it easy to re­move the loaf when it is cooked. 3 Tip the flour into a large bowl and stir in the ground gin­ger, nut­meg and bi­car­bon­ate of soda. Add the but­ter and rub it in with your fin­ger­tips un­til the mix­ture re­sem­bles fine bread­crumbs. 4 Put the sugar in a pan with the trea­cle, maple syrup and but­ter­milk and heat un­til the sugar has dis­solved, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. In­crease the heat and bring the mix­ture up to just be­low boil­ing point, then stir in the stem gin­ger. 5 Pour the sugar and but­ter­milk mix into the spiced flour and but­ter mix and then quickly stir to­gether with a wooden spoon. Break in the egg and then beat un­til it is just com­bined and thick. 6 Pour the mix­ture into the lined loaf tin, us­ing a spat­ula to make sure you get all the bat­ter out of the bowl. Bake the loaf in the oven on the mid­dle shelf for 55 min­utes-1 hour, or un­til a skewer in­serted in the cen­tre of the cake comes out clean. 7 Once the loaf is baked, re­move it from the oven and brush the top with the ta­ble­spoon of maple syrup. Leave to cool com­pletely in the tin, then cut the sticky Ja­maican gin­ger cake into slices to serve.

NOTE The oven tem­per­a­ture for this recipe is lower than for most cake recipes, but this is be­cause it bakes for a long time.

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