Thursday, August 15, 2013

Treading gingerly

Well, what a week it's been. Last weekend I was all geared up to make ice cream, but I had so much running around to do that taking a whole day to churn (I can't justify the cupboard space an ice cream maker would occupy) became impossible.
Then the past few days were such a shemozzle that ice cream just wasn't going to cut it - I needed cake. Preferably some sort of filling, warming cakey cake.
The cake I chose, gingerbread loaf, is one that I've paused on many times while flipping through the recipe folder, but somehow other cakes have always called to me more loudly. It's very quick and easy to make and I loved it, although it's not a cake that will be to everyone's taste; it has quite a dense, almost dry texture that still manages to stay fluffy inside a deliciously crunchy crust. I increased the ginger a little and, if you like ginger, another teaspoon wouldn't be overwhelming.
The original recipe suggests dusting it with icing sugar, but I've been dreaming about lemon icing for the past few days and, frankly, I think it would be a little too dry without some sort of icing or glaze. It has a lovely caramel flavour, so it'd also be nice with a syrup poured over it when it's straight out of the oven to enhance that sticky gingerbread quality.

Gingerbread loaf with lemon icing (adapted from a Donna Hay recipe)

1/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
65g butter, chopped
1 egg

1 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
3 tsp boiling water
3 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 160C. Place honey, golden syrup, sugar and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until all combined and the sugar is dissolved.
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (I used a KitchenAid, but you could use a food processor or rub in the butter with your fingertips like a crumble). Add the syrup mixture and beat until smooth, then add the egg and mix until well combined.
Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake for an hour, or until it passes the skewer test.
Turn out on to a rack and allow to cool before icing.
For the icing, put the icing sugar in a bowl and stir in the water and lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you want. This icing sets hard quickly so pour or spoon it over the cake as soon as you're happy with it.

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