It’s December. The gingerbread lattes are out. The Christmas songs
are here having been playing since
I don’t really need to convince you that it’s time to eat a cake made of ginger, now do I? But, if you insist, how about this: this cake is fit for breakfast. In fact, it excels at it.
It’s really a cross between a bread and a cake. It’s what I might refer to as a “loaf cake.” (And I shall from here on out.) Rose Bakery, on Rue des Martyrs in Paris, labels it as simply “ginger cake.” Which is charming, but it’s really so much more than that.
The very best part of this cake is the sheer amount of ginger it calls for. It requests an obscene amount. An amount that would normally make you call into question certain things. But it’s Christmas. Tis the season to let things slide.
And this is an important point to stress here. Christmas context is everything.
Take gingerbread. Around this time of year it becomes anthropomorphized and weirdly gendered. I know it’s confusing, Mr. Gingerbread. We neglect your man parts and give you red and white buttons and bow ties made of icing. And then after all that we eat you. Sorry for the mixed signals.
And we look fondly on Christmas carols that—upon closer inspection—seem to hint at date rape. You see, in any other circumstance, “no cabs to be had out there” is not the proper response when a lady friend asks you, “say, what’s in this drink?” Yes, baby, it is cold outside. But we can read between the lines, Dean. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Happy holidays!
Ah the spirit of Christmas.
What I really mean to say is that in such company a gingery loaf cake doesn’t seem odd or inappropriate or excessive in any way. It really, truly is a lovely little cake.
The extra spice seems just right. It feels homey. Not at all overpowering. And should you pass on its invitation as a breakfast cake, it makes a great snacking cake too. One to enjoy all year through.
But for now, go on, bake yourself a very merry ginger loaf cake. It's a little piece of Christmas. And all the crazy %#@* it brings.
A Very Ginger Loaf Cake
Adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Meals of Rose Bakery
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for greasing)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
scant 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp ground ginger
¼ tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup muscovado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp molasses
¾ tsp baking soda, divided
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch loaf tin and line the base and sides with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, spices, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, syrup (or honey) and fresh ginger until light.
In a small bowl, mix together the molasses and ½ tsp baking soda and then mix this into the butter mixture. Boil ¾ cup water and add in the ¼ remaining tsp baking soda; whisk to combine and then pour this into the butter mixture on low speed; add in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the eggs until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for about 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake before removing it from the tin.
Makes 1 loaf cake
-I actually used whole wheat white flour because I had some. I'm sure that regular whole wheat flour would be marvelous here.
-I found golden syrup at Whole Foods.
-What's that? Yes, spices are wonderful for you, too. Check out this blog post where I wrote about such important matters.