Monday, August 30, 2010

The Perfect Little Ginger Cake

The summer months are the time for simplicity.  And I can't seem to have a dinner party without a little something sweet to finish.  I love to feast on as much stone fruit as possible, peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries.....time seems so limited on these summer gems. To accompany the array of fruits I pair them with home made ice cream, cookies, or small moist cakes.  For many years I have turned to my favorite little ginger cake......I love the spicy, freshness of ginger.  I had this cake on a trip to France at least 15 years ago, and of course came back and had to recreate the moist little took a couple months but well worth the time. Light in texture, loaded with fresh ginger, sweetened with honey and malty brown sugar.  This cake never fails to satisfy, guests always swoon, it pairs well with peaches, poached pears, baked apples and roasted apricots......a dream cake.

For a recent dinner party a good friend requested the ginger cake, and asked if I could include the recipe as a party favor........she has asked many times before.  Which cake do you mean? fully aware of which cake.  Let me see if I can dig the recipe up, I said with a smile.  Even though the cake is perfect all by itself or with a cup of tea, a glass of sweet dessert wine or coffee, I had to pair it with a summer fruit favorite.....roasted peaches.  Peaches and ginger, a heavenly match for me, and to gild the lily a little ginger ice cream....perfect.  

As guests arrived the aroma of ginger still hung in the air, when our friend arrived her eyes light up immediately, you found the recipe she whispered as she walked to the garden.  I can hardly wait for too I said with a twinkle in my eye. 

Fresh Ginger Cake:

I like to make this cake in individual molds, it gives everyone a perfect little cake, and beautiful to plate.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
1/4 cup mild flavored honey
1 egg
1 1/2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and grated on microplaner
1 teaspoon dry ginger

1) Grease and flour 6 -- 1/2 cup brioche, timbale, or round muffin tins.

2) Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, whisk to combine and set aside.

3) Preheat oven to 350

4) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the water over medium heat.  Add the light muscovado sugar and honey and whisk until melted and incorporated.  Add the egg and mix until no visible signs remain.  Now add the fresh and dry ginger, stir to combine.  Add the dry ingredients, blend until smooth. 

5) Pour the batter into prepared tins, place tins on a baking tray and place into preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes away clean.  Be careful not to over bake.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes, invert the tins and cool cakes completely. Cakes can be made 2 days ahead and wrapped tightly until ready to use.

Peaches Roasted in Honey and Muscovado sugar:

This will make enough to serve with the cake, plus a little treat for the cook

3 peaches, firm but ripe and fragrant
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
3 tablespoons mild flavored honey
1 thin slice of fresh ginger
4 tablespoons water

1) Preheat oven to 375
2) Cut peaches in half, remove the stone, and set aside.
3) In a shallow gratin dish just large enough to hold the peach halves, melt the unsalted butter on top of the stove over medium heat.  Add the muscovado sugar, honey, water and ginger slice, raise heat and bring to a boil.   Boil for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.  Add the peach halves to the bubbling sugar and honey cut side down.  Place in the preheated oven and roast for 5 minutes. Turn the peach halves over and baste with the bubbling sugar, honey and butter caramel.  Return to the oven and continue to roast for another 5 to 10 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove gratin dish from the oven and set aside to cool slightly,remove the ginger slice. There should be just enough of the honey caramel on the bottom of the gratin for a spoonful over each peach. If not add a little water and melt on top of the stove until thick and syrupy.

Serve each cake with a peach half, a small scoop of ginger ice cream, home made or good quality store bought.  Place one spoonful of honey butter caramel over each peach.

1 comment:

  1. This delicate dessert looks amazing! I love Orcas Island, and was fortunate to go there twice from Seattle and stay at Cayou Cove. Wonderful!