Tag Archives: rum

Ginger, ginger, fresh ginger cake, read all about it!

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*Another post while travelling, from the Shan mountains in northern Myanmar!! Also sending this to Angie’s Fiesta on a bumpy but oh-such-fun horse cart, or maybe that water buffalo with birds standing on his back*

Looking through the SG archives, I couldn’t believe I’ve never written gushed about my love of fresh ginger cake. David Lebovitz’s fresh ginger cake.

But first, is it a proper ginger post without a ginger pun? No? Ok, here we go: “What do you call a redhead that works in a bakery? – A gingerbread man/woman.”

Ahem, now we’ve got that out of the way, onto the fresh ginger cake.

This cake is described by the great DL himself as one of his most popular recipes, and one that appears in a number of Bay Area cafes. From a pastry chef/cookbook writer who is famous for his books devoted to ice cream, chocolate, and other contemporary good Parisian things, it is a big claim to say that a favourite recipe involves neither ice cream, nor chocolate, nor anything particularly Parisian.

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It is, indeed, a beauty of a cake. Especially if you like the zing, heat, tingly back throat warm, of fresh ginger. This is fresh ginger dialled up to 10.5, approaching 11.

And lest you worry about eating a mouthful of the root, the ginger is beautifully supported by equally strong flavours from the molasses and spices. I’ve tried a few variations on the spice mix, from the classic cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, to a generous dash of allspice in a pinch, to a light sprinkling of five spice powder (which adds a slightly deeper, savoury note). All of the above, happily, have been approved by family/friends/colleagues.

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One egg, two recipes: lemon curd and fabulous macaroons

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*When this post hits the blogosphere, and Fiesta Friday 21, I’ll be travelling. Since internet will be sporadic, I may not see your comments (or visit your blogs) for a while, but look forward to catching up when I’m back!*

Of eggs and introductions

How does one introduce a recipe? I’ve been wondering about this while scribbling up this post. And to double the trouble, how does one introduce two recipes that together use the whole egg? Chronologically? Alphabetically? Punningly?

I’ll go from the outside, starting at the eggwhite, finishing with the egg yolk.

The eggwhite

I’ve posted about the macaroons before, under the moniker ‘multi-tasking macaroons’. But these macaroons weren’t exactly the same. These, made with coconut chips rather than desiccated/shredded coconuts, were so pretty. This time, the coconut flakes looked like brown-tipped wings. The texture was different somehow, chewy in the middle, crispy on the outside, not too sweet, each coconut flake standing to attention. These, dear reader, were what Alice Medrich intended in her recipe.

But I took a shortcut. I mixed the coconut and egg whites, without half-cooking them as Ms Medrich instructs. These were a tad stickier, and maybe took a tad longer to cook, but they worked well with a fraction of the effort.

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And then, I dolloped rum-spiked dark chocolate ganache. And finished by sprinkling over flaky sea salt…

These macaroons were ready in about an hour, but they could have been eaten in much, much less time. Especially when I piled a few together and let the chocolate ganache pour over them. That was…well, fun, and decadent.

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Tropical Christmas: Bahamian rum cake

Wanted: a cake that makes people dream of a tropical island holiday.

Found: Bahamian rum cake.

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When I first had the idea of making a rum cake, I found a few recipes that use yellow cake mix and/or pudding mix. I guess this ensures consistency and a moist finish, but it also felt like cheating. Why make something at home if the guests will still be eating stuff with unknown chemicals?

So, I went back to my trusty book, Ready for Dessert. The book provided a recipe for rum cake that sounded like tropical heaven – spiced, syrup drenched and coconut glazed tropical heaven.

I was making a cake for morning tea at work. At first, I didn’t want to bring an alcohol cake, but as a friend sensibly pointed out, ‘it’s 5pm somewhere in the world.’

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The cake batter was an overload of richness: eggs, egg yolks, coconut milk, vanilla, nutmeg, butter and sugar, which resulted in a dense and moist crumb. The syrup was full of dark rum and coconut, its smell reminded us of a Malibu cocktail. After it soaked into the cake, every slice of the cake smelled like a cocktail, too.

And the glaze! Butter, double cream, sugar and a little more rum was cooked into a caramel that was lava-like, irresistibly rich, and very pretty when draped with shredded coconut. Coconut’s pure white colour contrasted with the light golden caramel. Lastly, I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar to add an extra bit of caramelised richness.

The glaze and the kugelhof pan* produced a cake that was as showy as I had hoped. And the taste – well, people are still talking about it.

* yes, kugelhof pan. Mr Gander only agreed to buy a new pan when I tempted him with sweet, poppyseed-filled yeast cake.

A colleague was so impressed, she now plans to serve this cake at Christmas dinner (warmed up, with extra coconut rum syrup and glaze, so it’s like a tropical riff on a pudding). It turns out my anti-Christmas cake can be part of the season festivities after all.

Here is the recipe, with my changes in brackets.

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Bahamian rum cake

(adapted from Ready for Dessert, David Lebovitz)

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups (420g) all purpose / plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt (I used one heaped tsp of coarse sea salt flakes)
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I also added a touch of cinnamon and allspice)
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400g) granulated / castor sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup (180ml) coconut milk

Coconut rum syrup

¾ cup (180 ml) coconut milk
6 tbsp (75g) granulated/castor sugar (I added an extra 1 tbsp coconut sugar)
½ cup (125ml) dark rum

Glaze

4 tbsp (60g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 tbsp heavy cream (double cream)
6 tbsp dark brown sugar (I used coconut sugar instead)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp dark rum
½ cup (40g) shredded coconut, toasted

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 175°C. Coat a 10-cup (2.5 litre) Bundt pan or tube pan liberally with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Dust it liberally with flour, and tap out any excess. (it is really important to be liberal with both butter and flour, otherwise cakes tend to stick to bundt pans, think streaks of butter and a snow storm of flour)

2. To make the cake, into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.

3. In a stand mixer, beat together butter, granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (3-5 min).

4. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly add to the butter/sugar mixture, either when the mixer is running or in small dollops. Beat the egg mixture into the butter mixture, scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until eggs are completely incorporated. It is normal for this mixture to look curdled. It’ll be ok after you add flour.

5. Take bowl off the stand mixer. Use a wooden spoon/spatula, gently stir in one-third of the flour mixture, then about half of the coconut milk. Mix in another one-third of the flour mixture, half of the coconut milk, and finish with the last third of the flour mixture.  Stir gently just until combined.

6. Scrape batter into the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set in the centre (I use the skewer test – there should be no crumbs on the skewer after sticking it into the centre of the cake). This will take about 55-60 minutes.

7. While the cake is baking, make the coconut-rum syrup. In a medium saucepan, warm the coconut milk and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the rum so you don’t lose any of the alcohol.

8. When the cake comes out of the oven, leave it in the pan, and poke it with a bamboo skewer about 60 times. Spoon two-thirds of the syrup over the cake. Let it soak in gradually, and let the cake cool completely. (I left the cake soaking overnight.)

9. Invert cake onto the plate you are going to serve the cake on. Brush or spoon the remaining syrup over the cake (I found a brush was better, as the syrup was brushed onto the cake, rather than just dribbling off the sides).

10. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium to high heat, bring the butter, cream, brown sugar and salt to a boil (I only added salt at the last minute). Cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, for about 1.5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum and let cool completely. Once cool, stir in toasted coconut (and salt).  (I only added two-thirds of the coconut to the glaze. I sprinkled on the other half in the next step so they kept their white colour.)

11. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, encouraging it to run down the sides of the cake. If glaze is too thick, warm it again slightly. (I sprinkled on the remaining one-third of the shredded coconuts on top of the glaze.)

Storage: the recipe says the cake can be stored at room temperature for up to four days. Mine was eaten on the day. DSCN0485

Vanilla-rum caramel roasted pineapple

Day 1: Vanilla and rum roasted pineapple

PhotoArt

This stopped conversation at the dinner party – thanks to fxcuisine and Pierre Hermé.

 

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