Sunday, 5 July 2009

Ginger squares

With the heat wave in south east England showing no signs of abating (it was hotter than the Bahamas this week!!!) I understand that ginger isn’t perhaps the most natural choice of ingredient to use in baking. But what can I say? I fancied it.

I’ve baked a fair few ginger cakes in my time and have come to realise that one component really alters the outcome of the cake. If you want a dark, sticky stodgy ginger cake – and I think this is a winter thing – then use black treacle. For a pleasingly anytime cake use golden syrup. This version however, is definitely the airiest and spongiest variant and uses honey. You will notice that the cake is far lighter in colour too.

The icing looked similar to many other icings but when you read the method you will see how different it is. We’ve all balanced bowls on top of saucepans to start making luscious things like Swiss meringue buttercream but this icing is made totally in the saucepan. One pot cooking at its finest! When cooled the icing has an almost fudge-like texture and is a quite beautiful accompaniment to the hot ginger.

I enjoyed eating a slice of this while sipping my tea and marvelling that, not only had Roger Federer made another Wimbledon final, but I’d won yet another fridge magnet from the CCBF (Caked Crusader’s Boyfriend). Life is good!

For the cake:
80g unsalted butter
85g honey
65g light brown sugar
100ml milk
2 eggs
185g self raising flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:
60g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
100g icing sugar

How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Grease a 16 x 26cm tray bake tin.
- Start by making the cake: Place the butter, honey and sugar into a medium sized saucepan – make sure it is big enough to hold all the other ingredients, as the saucepan is the mixing bowl for this cake.
- Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. You can best tell this by looking at the back of your spoon – if you can see tiny crystals, the sugar has not yet dissolved.
- Leave to cool slightly.
- Add the milk, eggs, flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda to the cooled mixture and stir in until well combined. I used a whisk as I find ginger cake batter is a bit lumpy and a whisk works better than a spoon.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Now make the icing: melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Add the light brown sugar and milk and bring to the boil.
- Simmer, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in enough of the icing sugar to make a spreadable consistency.Spread over the top of the cooled cake.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Lisa said...

Wow. I seriously love me some gingerbread but you're right, it's definitely a cool-weather treat. But yours looks very light and summery and I relish any chance I get to use honey or golden syrup. We have some amazing local honey that is beautiful in tea, on corn muffins, etc., but this would truly make it shine.

Gee, you think I'm going to try this? :)

glamah16 said...

I like to think of ginger as a tropical ingrediant anyway.

E. said...

I love ginger anything, and have looked for a summer ginger cake. I should have known that the Caked Crusader would have just the thing. This is going on the to-be-baked list.


Cakelaw said...

Delicious! And I believe that I could eat the icing by the spoonful all by itself.

Sam said...

I would have no problem eating this, even in a heatwave! It looks seriously good.

C said...

Looks perfect for this weather. I always love ginger in cakes but gingerbread does seem quite spicy and rich. Love the topping too!

Helen said...

Wow! I love ginger cake, I have a version that I love, but must try that icing. Last time I made a boiled syrup icing it went very wrong. YOu ahve ispired me to try again.

♥Rosie♥ said...

Now this is just amazing C.C. the icing alone has me drooling :09

B said...

I've run in to some suspicious recipes on the internet ("delicious" vegan chocolate brownies being a notorious disaster) but I thought I couldn't go wrong with such an enthusiast as the Caked Crusader. And indeed I couldn't - I tried this yesterday and it's a smashing cake, which turned out surprisingly light and fluffy for a "melted" recipe and the icing was no trouble at all. I'd be quite tempted to use the icing on other cakes with a spot of vanilla added as it's very fudgesque.

Marvellous stuff, thank you -
looking forward to working my way through some of your others!

The Caked Crusader said...

Thanks B - it's comments like yours that make it all worthwhile!

I hope you try some other recipes from my site and enjoy those just as much.

Elizabeth said...

I don't know if you see comments for old posts... but I did make this and I loved it. It was very light; so many tray cakes are heavy. I must admit that when I make it again I will add more ginger; just like the CCM, "it could be a bit hotter."