All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

gingerbread cake with basil vinegar and currants

Spring has sprung ! The horses are grazing on drier pastures, the apple orchards are blooming and scattering petals, looking all the world like wedding confetti; and it's my friend Mr. B's birthday.
Because he has spent so much time in England, I've noticed he enjoys somewhat old-fashioned bakery goods - oatmeal cookies, raisin scones, - and cakes like this spicy gingerbread. The recipe comes from an old NY Times cookbook, when Craig Claibourne was editor. Because it calls for vinegar ( you can also use lemon juice) to make the sour milk for the batter, I use it as an opportunity to plunder my supplies of homemade herb vinegars, from chili pepper-oregano to basil, from lemon verbena to rosemary-lovage. I decided to go with the basil today. I also made a thin glaze with a little milk, lemon juice, and confectioner's sugar, just to fancy it up a little. At the last minute, I remembered he liked currants, so I tossed a handful into the batter.
Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying the spectacular show Mother Nature is putting on!
To make one 9 inch cake:
Grease a 9x2 inch cake pan and set aside. If you use a different size, make sure you fill pan up only 3/4ths of the way to avoid spillover.
Preheat oven to 350F.
1 T. herb vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
3/4 cup milk
2 cups sifted flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 T. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/3 cup canola oil or other mild oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup or more dried currants
Add vinegar to milk and set aside until it curdles.
Beat the oil with the sugar, then the egg, then the molasses.
Add the flour, baking powder and soda, the spices, and the salt, and then pour in the by-now soured milk. Mix slowly until thoroughly mixed, then add the currants and mix well.
Scrape into prepared pan and place on upper third shelf of the oven.
Bake approximately 40 minutes, or until the center rebounds when gently pressed in the center.
let cool completely, then unmold to another cooling rack.
Eat as is, or with confectioner's sugar, or a thin milk glaze:
In small bowl, mix a tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and 2 T. milk.
Quickly whisk in enough confectioner's sugar to make a thin icing.
Pour on cake and spread quickly.
What I'm reading:
A hilarious guide to London - in 1599!
Shakespeare's London on 5 Groats a Day
and a fabulous little treasure:


Martha said...

This looks so good -- and I love the basil vinegar -- that should be awesome!

katrina said...

Thanks, Martha! I usually use the hot chili pepper one ( it has a nice, modest heat), but at the last minute thought basil would be fun. Glad you enjoyed this sweet little cake!

Richard Glass said...

Wow, I love those photos!

I will try the recipe, but it looks like it's a bit too hard for me, maybe my wife can manage :)
I will ask her to use the lemon juice as I don't really like the vinegar.

Chef Fresco said...

I've never had ginger in cake, but would definitely go for a slice! Love the pictures, makes me wanna go play outside!

katrina said...

Hey Chefs! - what? You've never made my pumpkin cake with sugared ginger? That's a must try!
Loving all this green and sunny weather!

rubswanted said...

I love the NY Times Craig Claibourne cookbook! Thanks for bringing this recipe to my attention as I must have missed it. The basil vinegar sounds interesting and I adore currants. I look forward to making this recipe in the coming months. Thanks again :)

katrina said...

rubswanted - I'm so delighted you're a CC lover - he was one of my mentors, and a great teacher! I think you'll enjoy his spicy take on gingerbread......

A Thought For Food said...

Any baked goods with ginger in them make my mouth water. Sounds so good! I love the pairing with the basil vinegar.

katrina said...

So delighted you enjoyed, A Thought for Food! Ginger is such a wonderful ingredient - and fresh ginger? Awesome!