I have a built-in problem when it comes to cake making. Because both my husband and I have expanding waistlines, my skinny son eats most of what I cook, but he's very conservative in his tastes. Chocolate is his favourite flavour, but is very monotonous for us. Ginger is one of the flavours he likes, but dried fruit is usually a big no-no. Sticky toffee pudding has been a great success in the past, and also fresh fruit in cakes is often acceptable, so this recipe containing dates used in the same way as in a sticky toffee pudding and small pieces of apple, as well as ginger stood a good chance of succeeding with him.
There was quite a bit of time consuming preparation - grating 50g of ginger, soaking and chopping the dates and finely chopping the apples - but the cake was easy to make. I melted the butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave, rather than a saucepan on the hob, because I find it easier to mix large quantities in a bowl rather than a saucepan. I made sure the dark muscovado sugar was smooth and lump-free before continuing.
Because the cake was so moist and sticky it was difficult to decide if it was properly cooked after 75 minutes. I tested in two places and the in first test the stick was dry, but in the second it came out with a lot of sticky mixture on it. Two repeat tests in different places gave the same result - one looked cooked, the other didn't. The cake felt firm, so I decided that it was probably done, and I had just hit particularly moist patches on two of the four tests.
When the cake was cold I topped it with a drizzled pattern of lemon glacé icing, as I didn't need the more elaborate decoration used in the recipe.
It was the first time I've made a cake relying on fresh ginger for it's flavour and it seemed to give a much more complex flavour than when using powdered dry ginger. The combination of dates, ginger, lemon and muscovado sugar gave a smell and flavour reminiscent of Christmas cake, but the cake was much lighter and moister than a rich fruit cake.
I really liked this cake; the overall flavour was rich and complex without any one of the contributing elements overwhelming the others.