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.