Gingerly does it

Jeremy Lee cosies up with a proper win­ter cake

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - Jeremy Lee Makes one cake Jeremy Lee is the chef­pro­pri­etor of Quo Vadis restau­rant in Lon­don; @jere­myleeqv

My mother made a ginger cake that was so dark and sticky it looked like a black hole

When­ever I hear the word “rhi­zome” I al­ways think of Mapp and Lu­cia, the hi­lar­i­ous ac­count of so­cial ri­valry between two ex­tra­or­di­nary women, which reaches giddy heights over Miss Mapp’s in­fa­mous theft of Lu­cia’s recipe for Lob­ster a la Rise­holme. I has­ten to add you will not be killing lob­ster in this week’s pud­ding recipe.

No, this week we look to ginger – that fiery rhi­zome (ie mass of roots), with its fine flavour and heat – to en­liven a cake that is de­li­cious on its own, but very good warmed for pud­ding and served with ice-cream – and maybe some cream, too, nat­u­rally.

There are as many recipes for gin­ger­breads and cakes as there are stars in the sky, and a great many folk have a set of trusted and most beloved recipes from which they will not stray. My mother made a ginger cake that was so dark and sticky that it sank mag­nif­i­cently in the mid­dle and looked like a black hole. No hol­i­day to the He­brides was com­plete without one and, when cold from the sea, a slice slathered with cold but­ter made for the best shiv­ery bite.

I con­fess to hav­ing many recipes, and two favourites stand out: one by Rose Prince and the other by Claire Ptak who sells her ginger cake (made with mo­lasses) by the slice or whole at her lovely bak­ery near Lon­don Fields. But this week I found my­self look­ing to the other side of the At­lantic and the notable Amer­i­can chef and food writer Nancy Sil­ver­ton , whose book Desserts con­tains recipes I have read end­lessly (though I am be­dev­illed by the spoon, stick and cup mea­sure­ments ... as im­pen­e­tra­ble to this Scot as hi­ero­glyphs). Hap­pily, though, we have a pas­try chef who is flu­ent in Amer­i­can, whose price­less trans­la­tions open up a won­der­ful world of much de­li­cious­ness.

Ginger cake

I have re­duced the amount of ground ginger and upped the fresh root. This may re­quire a lit­tle ex­tra ef­fort on the cook’s part, but the re­sult­ing cake is am­ple re­ward. I sug­gest leav­ing the cake to sit for a cou­ple of days be­fore carv­ing the first slice.

180g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

170g dark mus­co­v­ado su­gar

4 egg yolks, plus 8 egg whites

400g trea­cle

270g plain white flour

3 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cin­na­mon

1 tsp ground mace

½ tsp ground cloves

5 pieces of fresh ginger the size of your thumb, peeled and grated

5 pieces of crys­tallised ginger, grated, and 5 tsp of the ad­her­ing syrup A shot of espresso cof­fee 1½ tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 tbsp caster su­gar 250g sour cream

1 Line a 30cm spring­form tin with grease­proof pa­per. Pre­heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2.

2 Beat the soft­ened but­ter in a bowl. Add the mus­co­v­ado su­gar and beat for 4 min­utes. On a gen­tle speed, add one egg yolk at a time un­til all are in­cluded.

3 Pour in the trea­cle. Tip in the flour, the spices, the fresh and crys­tallised gin­gers, and the ginger syrup. Mix deftly, but swiftly.

4 Now, add the cof­fee, then the bak­ing pow­der and mix.

5 In a sep­a­rate bowl, beat the egg whites un­til stiff, then add the caster su­gar, beat­ing all the while un­til peaked. Fold ⅓ of the egg white mix into the bat­ter, then ⅓ of the sour cream, and con­tinue thus un­til all is mixed swiftly and deftly.

6 Pour the bat­ter into the pre­pared cake tin. Smooth the sur­face. Put the cake in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Check with a skewer in­serted within for done­ness. If longer is re­quired then check every 5 min­utes or so.

7 Cool the cake and store in an air­tight con­tainer some­where cool – for a fair few days, if pos­si­ble, be­fore de­cid­ing on whether to serve with cus­tard, cream or ice-cream – or all three, per­haps.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.