Fresh Ginger Cake

Quite often, when I’m anxious about something, I try to think: how can I cook my way out of this?

One of the highlights of my week is Bible Study on Tuesday nights at church. It’s the most amazing spiritual food, and I’m continually amazed by the richness of God’s word, and how alive it is. This term we have been studying the Psalms, which I’ve never particularly connected with before, except (ironically) in songs (like Psalm 51 by Graham Kendrick – amazing psalm, amazing song, amazing message).

Anyway, both of our group leaders were travelling this week, so the Husband and I (aka the “B” Team) led the study on Psalm 81. He is a veteran leader, but I’ve only taught the Bible to 2-7 year olds before, so I was slightly anxious, and whilst we were praying and planning through the study, I baked this cake to bring along. Just because…it never hurts to have cake. It’s a good one for knocking up quickly on a weeknight, for eating the next day, with ingredients that are all baking storecupboard staples, except perhaps the ginger.

And once it was made, I said a quick prayer of thanks for the recipe working out, since I hadn’t tried it before – and realised that the obvious thing to do when feeling anxious is to pray. Thank God for what we learned in Psalm 81 about how we should praise Him for how He has saved us, and trust Him because only He can deliver us. And it was a nice extra to have cake.

Fresh Ginger Cake Recipe

Almost by the book from David Lebovitz‘s recipe

The photo makes this cake look dense, but it isn’t. It has the nicest texture  imaginable – it is rich but not in the least heavy, in fact it is properly light, more like a sea sponge than a cake sponge – and yet somehow also damp and soft. It is fragrant with ginger and if it was just for the two of us I would have left it as is – but since it was for sharing, I glazed it with a thin glossy layer of Seville orange curd.

The cake is made using the boiled method, like a gingerbread, which makes for a lovely crumb.

115g piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped – most easily in a food processor (a hand of ginger about the size of a palm; to peel, cut each bulge off the central branch and use a small, scarf knife to run the skin off in strips, like peeling an apple)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl:
– 250ml golden syrup
– 200g sugar
– 250ml vegetable oil
Measure out:
– 350g plain flour
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon ground ginger
250ml boiling water
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the bicarbonate of soda. It foams up amazingly! Whisk into the golden syrup mixture (or use the cake beater attachment on the stand mixer), then add the chopped ginger. It looks quite sloppy at this stage – don’t worry.

2. Gradually sift the flour mixture over the golden syrup mixture, keeping the mixer running. Add the eggs and increase the speed to whisk until thoroughly blended.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Leave to cool completely.

Run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the tin. Invert the cake onto a plate, peel off the parchment paper, then re-invert it onto a serving platter.

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