We had rather a lot of candied crystallised ginger left after the CNY so it was timely when I found this recipe in my Williams Sonoma's Essentials of Baking which calls for not only 140g of the stuff, but adds an additional 3 inch worth of its grated self. As if that was not gingery enough, ground ginger was also specified but I didn't have any so I substituted with a good pinch of nutmeg instead.
The baking of a cake was to provide a sweet treat for after dinner but mainly to please V, she was so excited about the project she could hardly wait for me to come home from classes, asking GG again and again when I would return. She ate up her chai-chai (vegetables) dutifully at lunchtime and eagerly put on her kiddie apron. I put her to work sending dirty dishes to the sink and for rewards, she enjoyed licking maple syrup and fluffy sugar-butter bits from the spoon.
The recipe below is an adapted version, because I lacked ingredients such as the aforesaid ground ginger, light corn syrup (substituted with maple syrup of which Sui Mai had given me a large tin of the high quality brown gold last year) and almond extract (sub-ed with vanilla extract). I also cut down the sugar, noted also that many of their recipes specify icing/confectioner's sugar rather than fine sugar, because 155g sounded a bit much.
1. Mix the ginger and liquer. Measure the milk and set aside, it's turn comes round in step 5.
140 g crystallised ginger, minced.
80ml Grand Marnier
125ml whole milk
2. Butter a loaf pan, 9 X 5 inch is best or a fairly large one. Line bottom with parchment paper, butter it and then dust the whole pan with flour.
3. Sift together:
250g cake flour
2tsp baking powder
Big pinch ground nutmeg
4. Whisk until light in colour and fluffy. Book says 5 minutes, it felt more like 12 to me.
130g icing sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then whisk in the orange zest, grated ginger and vanilla extract. Actually I dumped the last three items in the bowl of eggs and kind of plopped the eggy mix in, a yolk at a time. At one point the mixing must have liquefied the ginger a bit and the batter turned liquidy but no worries, it all came together in the end. The cake will rise!
4 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 orange
3 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6. Fold in one third of the sifted flour mixture, then half the milk. Repeat with another third of flour, then milk. Add the marinating crystallised ginger, fold lightly and finish off with a final fold in of the remaining flour. Use a light hand, the batter will come together easy-peasy.
7. Bake 50-60 mins at 180 C. Test for doneness. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert it with a wire rack and remove from pan, peeling away the parchment paper. Turn the cake domed side up and let cool, placing a damp kitchen towel over it to prevent drying out.
The book recommends dusting it with more icing sugar but I reckoned it looks mighty fine without. The cake was moist with a melting crumb yet had a pleasing bounce to the bite. The ginger bits were evenly distributed all the way from bottom to top. The flavour, in spite of the ginger layers, was not so spicy even a 2 year old will gladly eat it, and it wasn't too sweet, it is perfect with tea or coffee. The book mentions that it tastes even better after several days; well it'd better, we have a hefty chunk left.