Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread (TWD)


This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Heather of Sherry Trifle: Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread. I was really excited to see this pick because I have been wanting to make this for about a year now. I actually got the ingredients together to make this, and then found out that this recipe had been picked. So it was perfect timing :)

It's a cake that is "packed with fresh, candied and ground ginger, spices, molasses and a little chocolate," then topped with chocolate icing. I love ginger and spiced cakes and cookies, so I was really looking forward to trying some homemade gingerbread.

Aside from fresh ginger or stem ginger in syrup, I think most bakers will already have the ingredients required for this recipe on hand. I was unable to find any stem ginger in syrup, so I only used fresh ginger. In the ingredients list, the fresh ginger is listed as required, whereas the stem ginger is listed as optional. However, within the recipe instructions, Dorie says to add the fresh ginger to the batter "if you're using it" and then it is implied that the ginger in syrup is not optional.

I found that with just the fresh chopped ginger and ground ginger, this cake had a nice spicy flavor without being too overpowering. Adding the stem ginger in syrup might have been too much for those who don't enjoy ginger so much.



The smell while this cake was baking was wonderful. Dorie always recommends baking cakes on a baking sheet. However, I've found that this always causes them to be under baked, at least in my oven. I usually just place my cake pans directly on the oven rack to avoid this. I'm not sure why, but I thought maybe I would try it just one more time with this recipe so I placed my cake pan on the baking sheet before placing it in the oven. The cake is supposed to bake for about 40 minutes. Well, after 40 minutes, I could tell that the center of my cake was not even close to being set so I removed the baking sheet and allowed the cake pan to rest directly on the oven rack and baked it for an additional 10 minutes. This seemed to do the trick.

However, after allowing the cake to cool for 10 minutes, I was unable to unmold from the cake pan. I had buttered the cake pan as directed, run a knife around the edges of the cake, but was still unable to unmold it. After much struggle, I was finally able to get it out of the pan... but not in one piece :( I was able to get a large chunk in the middle out, almost intact, but the rest was just broken into pieces.

Determined not to waste my cake (and efforts), I frosted what I could and cut those pieces into squares... then I made individual chocolate trifles with the rest :)


I thought this gingerbread was good, but not great. My husband loved it, as did my coworkers. I think the combination of chocolate and ginger just didn't appeal to me as much as I thought it would. Still, it's definitely something I would consider making again towards the end of the year for a holiday party.

Thanks Heather, for choosing this gingerbread. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you visit the TWD Blog Roll to see how everyone else enjoyed this holiday inspired treat.

* Recipe notes:
- The best way to peel your ginger is with a vegetable peeler, but you'll need a paring knife to get into the nooks at each branching.
- Ginger will keep for a while in your refrigerator. You can also chop or zest any leftover ginger and put it in a ziploc bag and freeze it for later use.
- I had to remove my cake from the baking sheet after 40 minutes, then bake it an additional 10 minutes before it was done.
- My cake stuck to the pan like crazy, so I would recommend lining your pan with parchment paper, and then buttering it. Or maybe flouring the pan after you butter it.
- I used semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate.
- Consider using an electric mixer for your icing. Despite sifting my confectioner's sugar into the icing recipe, I still ended up with lumpy icing :(
- You can wrap this and keep it at room temperature for about 3 days or freeze it, icing and all, for up to 2 months.
- For more tips, click here.
- Lastly, a quick note from Dorie about the recipe:

I just saw that TWD will be making the chocolate gingerbread cake next. I just wanted to say that you’ve got to use a TRUE 9-x-9 pan or else you’ll have too much batter. Sadly, these days it seems as though the pans that are marked 9-x-9 are really only 8-x-8, sometimes even smaller. Short of buying a new pan, the best thing to do is to fill your pan just 2/3 or 3/4 full (if your pan is smaller than 9-x-9) and to make mini-cakes out of the leftover batter.

33 comments:

  1. Jamie, The trifle was a great idea - looks beautiful! Funny, I had no trouble unmolding mine but I used a lot of Pam spray. I think the spray works better than butter, generally - maybe it's easier to hit all the corners. I baked mine for 55 mins, on sheet pan the whole time but I think my oven may need calibration.

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  2. I've noticed that with Dorie's recipes too. I wonder why she always calls for the baking sheet? Anyway, I was worried about too much ginger, but I really ended up enjoying the flavors of this cake! Your cake looks so moist and yummy. Well done.

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  3. Looks delicious and I liked it more than I expected. Your idea of the trifle is great!!

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  4. I agree this would be a great holiday recipe!

    My cake also stuck to the pan.

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  5. It looks moist and delicious. I just use parchment paper or wax paper to line the bottom of my cake pans now. I hate it when cakes stick and mine always did. Not anymore. Thanks for all the tips. I did not make this, but definitely will later!

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  6. Sorry to hear your cake got stuck in the pan. I hate when that happens! Mine is in the oven baking right now so hopefully I'll be able to get it out. Your cake looks delicious regardless!

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  7. I couldn't get mine out of the pan either, so I just left it in....and doubled the icing.

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  8. Aaaooo! That's two weeks in a row that the recipes have just been okay and haven't worked quite right. Once again though it looked good especially the mini trifles. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you for next week!
    ~ingrid

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  9. Jaime, the cake look so moist and the glaze look so delicious too.
    Cheers,
    Elra

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  10. Looks beautiful!!!

    I LOVED that icing!

    I left out the fresh and stem ginger, and still got a slight warmth from the spices...this cake was fantastic!

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  11. trifles save the day quite often, don't they! the part that you were able to salvage looks darn good. :)

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  12. Those chocolate trifles look unbelievable!!! WOW, great job!

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  13. The cake looks fantastic -- you can see how moist it is. I also love the trifle twist. I love the way the icing looks on the cake too. I was too lazy to make it but now I wish that I had.

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  14. i have no clue why dorie said to bake it on a sheetpan...i just ignored it, as this wasn't something that would bubble over. good idea to salvage the stubborn bits and turn them into trifle--tasty!

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  15. Your gingerbread looks great. Very moist.

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  16. Yours looks so moist! Love the trifle idea!

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  17. Great chocolate trifle! Way to be resourceful! This cake was absolutely amazing! And yours looks great!

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  18. Yeah, I noticed the ginger discrepancies in the recipe too. Weird. Yours looks great, though. The trifles looks especially yummy!

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  19. I love your trifles - nice save! Your cake looks so moist and yummy. I haven't made this yet, and was debating whether or not I would, but seeing all the pictures is making me want spice cake, darnit! Must bake!

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  20. sorry to hear about the cake sticking :( that stinks! the few that you got look delicious, though, and that trifle looks amazing :)

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  21. Bummer that you didn't like this better, but at least it got eaten by others! It sure looks great!

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  22. Sorry it wasn't everything you hoped for, but it still looks great! I love how you made the trifle!

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  23. Yours look really yummy. Nice job. Glad others liked it even tho it wasn't one you enjoyed.

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  24. This would be perfect for the holidays! I will have to remember it for next year!!

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  25. Your cake looks delicious! I've given up putting pans on a sheet pan, because my stuff never seems to turn out right when I do. I'm glad I read the suggestion to use parchment before I baked mine; it definitely helped.

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  26. WOO HOOO I get to be your first comment. Excited am I? Agreed-the sheet under the pan has only proved a lifesaver for me when baking Dorie's pie/pie crust. The butter seeps out in my oven. Whew what a mess. My ovens were a mess after the holidays. Anyhoo, sorry you had difficulties. I hate that when you are looking forward to a recipe with special excitement and find disappointment. Ah well, the lumps should eventually smooth with a whisk if the melted chocolate is still warm. Did you have the butter in first? Still glad you hubby liked it. Great job!
    AmyRuth

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  27. Jaime this cake looks wonderful, I can't wrap my head around gingerbread and chocolate though. I'll have to try it.

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  28. I am really liking the sound of a ginger and chocolate cake.

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  29. Love the trifles - I think that's the way to go with this gingerbread recipe! I always enjoy your tips, too.

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