Vail Valley baking: Two Gingers Cake has oomph
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –Looking for a few kicks, Vail Valley? This Two Gingers Cake will give them to you.
Light, moist, mildly sweet, with an even crumb and the kick of both ground and crystallized ginger, it’s a lovely finish to a meal or accompaniment to a cup of coffee. It differs from the usual gingerbreads because the recipe doesn’t include the strong, and often dominant, taste of molasses; without it, the ginger really shines.
One of the folks who tested this pastry describes it as “a pleasant, feel-good dessert.” He went on to explain that it goes down easily, cleanses the palette (crystallized ginger is often served at the end of the meal in several European countries for that very purpose) and is so delicate that it doesn’t make you feel that you’ve over-indulged.
Though the list of ingredients is long, it takes no time to get this treat in the oven. Just mix the dry ingredients together, then the wet ingredients and, finally, combine them. You don’t even have to pull out your electric mixer. The glaze, which is a perfect complement to the cake, is made just as quickly. The whole thing comes together with surprising ease.
The cake is enjoyable on its own, but makes a more festive dessert if served with caramelized apples (peel and slice, saute in melted butter and a little sugar) and/or rum-raisin ice cream.
Be sure and use a tube pan when making it; it needs heat from both the sides and the middle to bake correctly.
I’ve halved the recipe successfully, and baked it in a seven-inch tube pan.
Two Gingers Cake
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Bake in a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom
2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of mild vegetable oil (I use Canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup of sweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of water
3 tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup (approximately) of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Generously grease and flour the tube pan, including the tube itself. You may also spray the pan with a flour-vegetable oil spray. Prepare the pan well; cakes stick at our altitude.
Combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and whisk vigorously to combine and aerate the mixture. In a larger bowl, combine the light brown sugar, vegetable oil and the egg and whisk until they are very well blended. Make sure there are no lumps of brown sugar in the mixture. Whisk in the sweetened applesauce and the water until well mixed.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and whisk until completely blended. Gently stir in the chopped crystallized ginger until it is dispersed evenly throughout the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level and smooth the top.
Bake until the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan, the top is firm and springs back when gently pressed with a finger. This takes about 35 minutes in my oven. Remove the cake to cool completely on a rack. When it is cool, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a serving platter.
Make the glaze: Strain or sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps in it. Add the fresh orange juice, a little at a time, and whisk until the glaze is the consistency of heavy cream. Drizzle it over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides.
Let the cake rest until the glaze is set. Store the cake under a cake dome at cool room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to three days. The cake can be frozen if well-wrapped. I prefer to freeze it unglazed and add the glaze after it’s defrosted.
This is a variation of a recipe in The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook.
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at email@example.com.