Saturday, 5 February 2011

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread

I really like finding recipes which have obviously used oil right from the start, rather than recipes which have been adapted by replacing butter. I can be more optimistic that they are going to work well and give results as good as a recipe using butter, rather than something which is a compromise. I can't say this recipe, from Epicurious, was perfect, but the flavour and texture were really very good. The amount of ground ginger looks alarming, but it wasn't too much for what is quite a large cake.

I made a few changes to the recipe - some planned, but one inadvertent - but nothing major which might affect how the recipe worked. I used an ale rather than a stout beer (Abbott Ale from Greene King) as I'd used half a 500ml can in a casserole the day before. I didn't add cardamom, as Hubs doesn't like it, and in my haste, forgot to add the nutmeg. As I'm in the UK, I used black treacle instead of molasses.

After reading some of the more recent of the 200+ comments on the recipe I also added half a teaspoon of salt; there's something in a corner of my mind which says that American flours often have added salt! In addition, I dusted the greased bundt pan with cocoa - that seems an excellent tip for dark cakes, to avoid those white patches of dry cooked flour that sometimes appear on cakes - and was really generous with the butter, in an effort to avoid the common problem of sticking.

I still had a little sticking around the very bottom of the pan, but it only pulled away a very shallow layer of the cake - just the sticky 'skin' really. I was going to add some icing to hide this, but before I could do this, or photograph the cake, nearly half of it had been eaten. Adding a frosting doesn't seem worth the effort now, just for a prettier photograph, although it might have alleviated the problems, also mentioned by C at Cake, Crumbs and Cooking, of photographing plain brown cakes!

The cake initially rose well, but by the time it was cooked - at 60 minutes, rather than the 50 suggested in the recipe - it was beginning to shrink back and looked oddly wrinkled on top. Fortunately, with  a bundt cake, the top isn't seen when it's turned out!

This gingerbread is so dark that it's almost black, and is one of those which gets sticky with time. It's moist and close-textured, but is surprisingly light. It contains a frightening amount of sugar, but needs the ordinary sugar to counteract the bitterness of the black treacle(molasses). The balance of spices (allowing for me not using the nutmeg and cardamom) seems very good - but I'll try to remember the nutmeg next time!

10 comments:

Mary said...

I am inordinately found of gingerbread and the version you featured today is one of my favorites. Your photo is terrific. This was my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

Suelle said...

Welcome, Mary. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Hilary said...

I really like this recipe. I took it to work once and one of my colleagues said it was her favourite cake I had ever brought in.

Chele said...

Looks fab, such a dark colour which I prefer in my gingerbreads.

C said...

Looks amazing, such a dark, rich colour! I think you've managed a much better photo of your brown cake than I did!

Suelle said...

Thank you, C, I'm sure it was more luck than judgement. Hubs is a much better photographer than me, and he suggested not using a white plate, as it makes too much contrast between dark and light.

celia said...

Look at that colour, Suelle! Amazing dark and rich!

Brownieville Girl said...

Lovely moist, dark, rich gingerbread - just my sort of cake!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I used to think that gingerbread wasn't a nice thing. That was, until I saw Nigella Lawson make it. Now I really want to try it. It looks dark and moist and yummy

Suelle said...

Hi Brittany. My traditional gingerbread recipe is a good place for beginners to start:
http://mainlybaking.blogspot.com/2009/08/traditional-plain-gingerbread.html