Triple ginger cake

If you don’t like ginger, you really need read no further – this has a triple hit of spicy, warming ginger, which there’s absolutely no hiding from!

If you like ginger, then you’ll love these cake slices – I certainly did, and couldn’t get enough of them.

The sponge is made with both fresh and ground ginger, and there’s crystallised ginger spindled on top just for an extra kick with each mouthful.

To balance all the fiery ginger, I chose a sweet white chocolate icing which pairs perfectly. It was totally made up on the spot, but works in taste and consistency so I would definitely make it again.

Sometimes simple is what you need, and this cake comes together in no time. Plus, being a sheet cake makes it much easier to enjoy in bite size slices than a big layer cake so it’s great for taking in to work to feed colleagues or sharing with friends!

 

Triple ginger cake

  • 115g butter
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 1″ ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 60g natural yoghurt
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (but adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the icing:

  • 25g butter
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 30g cream cheese
  • Crystallised ginger to decorate

Start by beating the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the grated ginger and beat again. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the yoghurt, then sift together all of the remaining ingredients and fold into the batter. Test a little of the mix – you can always add more ginger if you think it needs it. Spread into a greased and lined 8″ square tin and bake at 170 degrees (150 fan) for approximately 25 minutes, or until risen and springy to the touch.

For the icing, melt the chocolate and set aside to cool. Beat the butter to soften, then add the cooled white chocolate and icing sugar and beat until it al comes together nicely. Finally, add the cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy (but don’t over mix or it will go too soft.) Spread over the cooled cake, then sprinkle the crystallised ginger on top – add as much or as little as you want, I say the more the better!

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Ginger chocolate crinkle cookies

I’m so into ginger right now. It happens every winter – I get completely and utterly obsessed with warming winter spices, with ginger and cinnamon topping the list.

I bought a jar of stem ginger to make some ginger shortbread biscuits for my stepdad to give to his mum (apparently she says all the ones you can get in the shops are ‘wishy washy’ and not gingery enough) and to stop myself just eating the leftovers straight from the jar I decided to make these.

I was inspired by a recipe from Technicolour Kitchen, but after looking at a few blogs decided to base them on these chocolate crinkle cookies, from 17 and Baking.

I pretty much followed it to the letter, apart from making a quarter of the quantity and adding some of the finely chopped stem ginger.

The resulting cookies were exactly what I hoped for – appearance wise they were spot on with the pretty crackly tops, the texture was chewy, and the flavour of the ginger came though subtly, but definitely noticeably.

I would definitely make these again, and perhaps try some other flavour combinations, but for now ginger and chocolate is one that can’t be beaten!

Ginger chocolate crinkle cookies (adapted from 17 and Baking)

  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g icing sugar (ish)
  • 30g finely chopped stem ginger

Mix together the cocoa powder, caster sugar and oil, then add in the egg and vanilla and beat well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt and stir this into the mixture with the chopped ginger, until everything is combined. Chill the dough in the fridge for as long as you can, overnight is best, before rolling into balls (I think I got 15 or 16 from this batch).

Heat the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the icing sugar in a small bowl, then roll each of the cookie balls in it to coat completely. Arrange on the tray, a couple of inches apart from each other, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes – they should spread so the tops crack and look all pretty. Leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Autumn spiced butternut blondies

Autumn spiced butternut blondies

You’d possibly think after National Chocolate Week and Salon du Chocolat that I might want a tiny break from eating or thinking about chocolate – but if you do then you definitely don’t know me well enough!

Not only have I been munching on the goodies I brought back from the show, I also couldn’t resist orderinga chocolate brownie at dinner last night, bought a bar of salted caramel chocolate to get me through work this afternoon, and now I’m thinking back to these delicious blondies and wishing I still had one left to eat now.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, regularly hosted by Choclette but this month hosted by Jibber Jabber, challenged everyone to make something chocolatey with vegetables.

Exactly one year ago I was the We Should Cocoa host and chose pumpkin or squash as the theme, but I have to say I wasn’t entirely happy with my bakes and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to give it another go.

I’ve made a couple of different versions of butternut brownies, but this time decided to let the fabulous colour of the squash stay and go for blondies instead.

I based the recipe on one from the Whole Foods Market website, but cooked and pureed the squash rather than grating it for a squidgier texture, cut down the sugar and added a different mixture of spices to give them a bit of autumnal warmth.

They turned out pretty much how I’d hoped in both texture and taste – reducing the sugar worked especially well as the white chocolate chunks added just enough sweetness to balance the spice.

My colleagues were also a fan, and I think I would definitely make them again as they’re a great way of using up half a butternut squash if you don’t fancy making soup!

Autumn spiced butternut blondies (adapted from Whole Foods Market)

  • 400g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 55g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped

Start by microwaving the butternut squash for 8-10 minutes, or until soft enough to cut through like butter. Puree it with either a stick blender, food processor or potato masher, then set aside.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until they triple in volume, then pour in the butter and vanilla with the mixer still running. Add the pureed squash and beat until just combined, then sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and fold into the mixture. Finally, fold through the chopped white chocolate then spread into a greased and lined 8×8″ square tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees (160 fan), until just set, then leave to cool before slicing into squares.

Orange, ginger and white chocolate cake

Orange, ginger and white chocolate cake

When I saw this zesty orange ginger carrot cake with white chocolate frosting over on Sweetapolita, it was instantly bookmarked and I knew it wouldn’t be long until I would have to try it myself.

Luckily the opportunity came a week later when I was having a farewell dinner with my dad, mum and step dad before leaving for Romania. I thought it would have elements that appealed to them all – my step dad loves white chocolate, my mum I thought would like the ginger, and my dad likes most things that aren’t too sweet or chocolatey.

I adapted it quite a bit, halving the recipe and baking in a 6″ tin, switching carrot for butternut squash and using a cream cheese white chocolate frosting rather than buttercream just to sandwich the layers and spread on top, rather than completely covering the whole cake.

Even after an hour and a half in the car on a sunny day (sorry cake!) it was very well received, and my dad even gave it the huge compliment of saying he wish he hadn’t given so much of it away to my mum and step dad.

It was a very moist cake, and when I took it out of the tin it sort of sunk in on itself a bit, so if I made it again I’d possible bake it for a little bit longer on a lower temperature, but other than that I was very happy and kind of wish I had another slice to eat now…

Orange, ginger and white chocolate cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)

  • 115g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 75ml milk
  • 250ml butternut squash, finely grated
  • 40g crystalised ginger

For the icing:

  • 50g butter
  • 125g cream cheese
  • 100g white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 100g icing sugar

Beat the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat again. Sift in half the flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger and fold in, stir in the milk and then sift in the remaining flour mixture and fold again until just combined. Stir in the butternut squash and crystalised ginger then pour into a greased and lined 6″ round baking tin.

Bake at 170 degrees for about 50 minutes (or a little lower and slower if you want) then leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter to soften then add the cream cheese and beat until no lumps remain. Stir in the melted white chocolate and sift in the icing sugar, then beat until light and airy. If it’s a bit too runny, chill in the fridge for half an hour and then beat again before icing the cake.

Slice the cake into three layers and use the icing to sandwich between them and spread on top. Finish with more crystalised ginger on top to decorate, then slice and enjoy!

The Boy Who Bakes chocolate chip cookies

Boy Who Bakes chocolate chip cookies

One of the books I was gifted this Christmas was ‘The Boy Who Bakes‘, the first title by Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber.

The book has a good mix of cakes, cookies, tarts and other treats, with what I think is quite an American feel to it, but choosing what to make first wasn’t a difficult decision – it had to be the ‘thick and chewy’ chocolate chip cookies, as I am forever searching for the perfect recipe to produce bakery-style, puffy, chewy, chocolatey cookies.

Edd’s recipe is definitely one of the best I’ve tried, the only negative being that the were ever so slightly greasy looking when they came out of the oven, possibly as the dough has a higher proportion of butter than some of the others I’ve tried.

I actually scaled down the amount of chocolate from the original recipe and in my opinion they were still plenty chocolatey enough, but I think Edd’s recipe is from the New York Times cookie school of thought where the dough should be merely enough to hold together the chunks of chocolate, rather than the star of the show.

I also added in a teaspoonful of ground ginger, which I think really lifted the flavour – it wasn’t enough to turn it into a ginger flavoured cookie, but it definitely made a difference.

Although these were close to perfect cookies (and the pony even asked for me to make them again, which doesn’t happen often) the white chocolate and cranberry cookies I made from a Table for Two recipe is still the best dough I’ve tried so far – there could be better out there though, so the search continues!

The Boy Who Bakes chocolate chip cookies

Makes around 24

  • 110g light brown sugar
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped

Stir the two sugars together in a large bowl, then add the butter and beat to combine (you don’t need to get it as light and fluffy as if you were baking a sponge, it just needs to come together). Add the egg and vanilla and beat again, then sift in the flour, ginger, salt and baking powder and stir into the mix. Finally add the chopped chocolate, fold in, and then wrap the ball of dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, divide the dough into equal sized balls – if I remember rightly mine were around 30g each, half the size recommended in the recipe but I think you would have to be especially gluttonous to want a cookie that big! Place fairly well spaced out on a baking sheet, and bake at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden and just starting to crisp around the edges. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Delicious fresh from the oven, but also still good after a couple of days.

Ginger chocolate shortbread bars

Ginger chocolate shortbread bars

Ginger is one of my favourite flavours and when I hosted We Should Cocoa back in October I came very close to choosing it before settling on pumpkin instead, so I was more than a bit happy that birthday girl Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes chose it for this month – the only difficulty was deciding what to bake!

I was toying with a few recipe ideas that used chunks of either stem or crystallised ginger, but the pony and I are attempting to have a bit of a money saving month (although he is doing a bit better than me!) so I ended up using what I already had on hand, in the form of ground ginger.

Inspired by these ginger crunch bars at Technicolour Kitchen, I set about making a sort of ginger version of millionaire’s shortbread, which is one of the pony’s favourites.

I used my own shortbread recipe, the icing from Technicolour Kitchen, and finished it with a layer of dark chocolate. If you are a ginger lover like me, then these bars beat millionaire’s shortbread hands down – the icing is so so good and the ginger really cuts through the sweetness.

I made quite a large batch of these, so I’m really hoping the pony devours them quickly or I can see myself heading back to the tub again, and again, and again…

These bars are my entry to We Should Cocoa, founded by Choclette and Chele and this month hosted over at Blue Kitchen Bakes. Be sure to check out all the other ginger goodies at the end of the month!

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Ginger chocolate shortbread bars

Makes 18 bars

For the base:

  • 250g butter
  • 330g plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 110g caster sugar

For the topping:

  • 150g butter
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 200g dark chocolate

To make the base, stir the ginger into the flour and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar then press into the base of a greased and lined 9×11″ shallow rectangular tin. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until just starting to go golden, then leave to cool in the tin.

For the ginger layer, heat the butter, golden syrup and ginger in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Sift in the icing sugar then whisk until no lumps remain. Pour over the base and leave to set at room temperature.

Melt the chocolate over a low heat, don’t let it get too hot, then spread over the set ginger layer. Leave at room temperature until the chocolate has just hardened then cut into bars.

Gingerbread truffles

Gingerbread truffles

More truffles! I’m a big fan of making truffles to go in Christmas hampers as they’re quick, easy, keep well and look pretty packaged up in cellophane bags with festive ribbons.

My first attempt at making these wasn’t perfect – the original recipe from Love and Olive Oil calls for unsulphered molasses, which I swapped for dark treacle, and although I quite liked it I think it would have been too strong for most tastes.

For my second attempt I used just a teaspoon of treacle and swapped the rest for golden syrup, which made a much sweeter, milder dough. Coated in white chocolate, it’s the perfect balance of spicy and sweet, and it’s a good job I gave most of them away or I would have been eating them by the handful!

one ingredient ginger

I’m entering these for the December One Ingredient Challenge, hosted by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen and Laura at How to Cook Good Food. Nazima picked ginger as the festive ingredient, although I have to say it’s one of my favourite flavours and I like to enjoy it all year round!

Gingerbread Truffles (recipe adapted from Love and Olive Oil)

  • 30g butter
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dark treacle
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (20ml) golden syrup
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • pinch salt
  • 150g white chocolate

Beat together the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup until light and fluffy. Sift together all the dry ingredients, then fold into the dough until it comes together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, before rolling into small balls (about 1.5cm diameter). Place spaced on on a piece of baking paper and transfer to the freezer for a further 30 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, stirring after 30 seconds and again at 10 second intervals after that, until completely melted but not hot. Remove the truffles from the freezer and use two forks to roll in the melted chocolate, then place on another baking sheet to set. Repeat until all the truffles have been coated. Because the truffle mix has been in the freezer, the chocolate will set quickly and they don’t need to go in the fridge, just leave them an hour or so before packaging/eating.

Chocolate spiced parkin

Apologies for the lack of posts recently – there are a couple of reasons for this but the main one is that I have been stuck in a bit of a baking rut, making quite a few things which have either been a complete disaster, or just ‘ok’, and not really worth blogging about.

This chocolate spiced parkin kind of falls into the second category, but I wanted to blog about it anyway because I think it does have the potential to be really good.

Taken from my favourite chocolate cookbook by Joanna Farrow, it combines a dark, treacly, spiced parkin with lots of chocolate, and it’s a combination that works well especially at this time of year.

The main problem is that either the baking time stated in the book is far too long, or my oven just went into overdrive – I took it out after 45 minutes rather than 75, but it was still dry and overbaked, which made me rather sad!

I did make a few alterations to the recipe based on what ingredients I had (subbing plain flour and bicarb for self raising, and swapping light brown for caster sugar) but I don’t think these would have had a huge effect on the outcome…

It’s definitely still edible, and the pony has been particularly enjoying it warmed up with a bit of custard, but I think if I’d reduced the baking time it would have been a lot nicer to just eat straight up as a snack cake.

This recipe gives the baking temp and time that I used, but I would strongly recommend reducing it if you want to have a go!

Chocolate spiced parkin (from Chocolate by Joanna Farrow)

  • 250g dark treacle
  • 250g golden syrup
  • 125g butter
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 375g porridge oats
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 200g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oats to sprinkle on top

In a heavy based saucepan, heat the treacle, golden syrup and butter until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and spices into a VERY large bowl, then stir in the sugar and oats.

Whisk together the milk and egg, then pour into the dry ingredients with the melted butter and syrup and stir until just combined. Add in the chopped chocolate, then pour into a lined 8×8″ square tin. Sprinkle the remaining oats on top, then bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes – but check after half an hour and if it’s cracked on top it’s probably done!

Baking with pumpkin – the basics

After selecting pumpkin as this month’s We Should Cocoa ingredient, I set about shortlisting pumpkin and chocolate recipes.

Pretty quickly, I realised there are two essentials if you want to bake with pumpkin – pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.

I’m sure in many places both of these things are readily available to buy, but I’m yet to see either of them here in Cornwall, so I thought that in case anyone else has the same dilemma I would post the super simple ways to make them yourself.

First up, pumpkin puree.

Get a medium sized pumpkin and chop into wedges. Scrape out the seeds then place skin side up in a roasting tray with a little water in the bottom. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees, or until the skin darkens and begins to wrinkle and the flesh softens.

Leave to cool, then peel the wedges and discard the skin (or eat it, if you’re me). Chop the flesh into chunks then blend in a food processor for a couple of minutes until fully pureed.

1 medium pumpkin produced 500g (or 2 cups) of puree, which I think is probably the same amount you’d get in one can. A bit more time consuming than buying it, but still not hard, by any stretch of the imagination!

For pumpkin pie spice, I used a recipe from My Baking Addiction, with the only change being to tone down the cloves.

Literally all you have to do is measure out the ingredients, mix together, and store in a spice jar. It will make enough for several uses, but that shouldn’t be a problem with all the delicious pumpkin recipes out there waiting to be tried! It would also be a great partner for apple, or other seasonal bakes.

Both my pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice have been tested out in my first pumpkin cake, which I will blog about very soon – and they worked out perfectly!

Chocolate ginger crumble cake

I’ve always liked ginger, but at the minute I LOVE ginger. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been making gingerbread in September and doing excess amounts of raw dough taste-testing, or just because its warming spice feels right for Autumn, but right now I’m all about the ginger.

This recipe is from my oldest and best loved cookbook, Chocolate by Joanna Farrow. I made this before, years ago, and wanted to try it out again in the hope that it was as good as I remembered.

Luckily, it was! I was a bit concerned when I took it out of the tin, as it looked a bit flat and hard, but the key to this is eating it warm – the chocolate melts and the ginger flavour really comes through – delicious!

Unfortunately in the time it’s taken to get around to blogging this the cake has been eaten, which is a shame as I’m really craving some more chocolate and ginger. Guess I’ll just have to bake something else…

Chocolate ginger crumble cake (from Joanna Farrow’s Chocolate)

  • 250g butter
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 200g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 25g stem ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar

Add the butter into a bowl with the flour and baking powder and run together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar, then weigh 250g of the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside. Ass the egg, vanilla and mixed spice to the remaining mixture and stir until it comes together, then press into the bottom of a greased and lined 9″ round tin.

Scatter the chocolate over the base, mix the ginger into the crumble mixture you set aside earlier, and sprinkle over the chocolate. Bake at 180 degrees for 50 minutes – 1 hour, until the crumble is golden. Serve warm, with cream or ice cream.