We absolutely love fresh ginger! And as I’m lately diving deeper into the waters of baking, it comes naturally to try the fresh ginger cake I saw on www.foododelmundo.com. It was a month ago and from that day I baked four (!) of these cakes.
To be honest, the first time it didn’t work perfectly. As I had to substitute some of the ingredients, it was a bit soggy. But the smell from the oven was incredible, anyway. So I dug into various books, learning how to adjust quantities when substituting (and lots of other stuff about baking actually… with the idea to make a good use of my new knowledge soon). I just had to give this cake a second chance (ok, 3rd and 4th, too).
It is relatively easy to make and has its bright, but simple presence. The cake is very moist, with a dense texture, soft and shiny, topped with caramel sauce pears, and all that is already enough for me to love it. But then comes the aroma that makes me be mad about it. It (almost) satisfied my cravings for festive baking, ginger cookies and all the typical things I would normally bake at this time of the year.
So, thank you, Mary! And my message to all of you: try this sticky beautiful cake and you’ll not regret it for a second!
Preparation and baking time: 55-60 minutes.
For the cake:
100g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp honey
60ml (¼ cup) sour cream*
60g (4 tbsp) softened butter
50g (¼ cup) sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp fresh ginger,finely grated
1/2 tsp lemon zest
For the topping:
2 firm pears, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
50g (¼ cup) sugar
2 tbsp brandy or 1 rum essence
*Sour cream is what the original recipe calls for, but I actually always use the same quantity of full fat milk, mixed with few drops of lemon juice.
Set the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
In a bowl mix the softened (but not melted) butter and the sugar. Stir well for a minute or two, till the mixture is fluffy. Add the egg and whisk for 2 more minutes.
In another bowl mix the sour cream (or milk & lemon juice), honey, grated ginger and lemon zest. Add the sugar-egg-butter mixture and gently fold it in.
Sift over the mixed flour, baking soda and salt. Fold them using a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not over mix the batter at this point.
Pour the batter into a greased 23cm/9″ round pan. Spread evenly. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan.
Meanwhile peel, seed and slice lengthwise the pears (depending on how big your pears are – in 12 to 16 slices each). Put them in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. In a wide saute pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add half of the sugar over the butter and stir. Add the pears in a single layer and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Reduce the heat and cook for 5-7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. (The time depends on how firm your pears are. Be careful not to overcook them – you need them soft, but not falling apart).
When the cake is cooled and the pears are soft, arrange them on top, using tongues (or a slotted spoon).
Leave all the liquid in the saute pan, over medium heat. Boil the mixture while stirring until it turns a deep shade of caramel then add 3 tbsp water and the brandy (or rum essence). Simmer and stir until it slightly thickens. Whisk briskly if it separates. Drizzle over the cake.
If you want the caramel sauce to be thicker, you can add to it 3 tbsp of heavy cream together with the brandy.