Posts Tagged cake

Blueberry cake

Sometimes there is such a thing as serendipity. A few years back, when I first played around with blueberry jam, I had such a glut of the berries that I used some of them for a rather awesome blueberry cake. It was moist, it wasn’t sweet, it oozed blueberries and it tasted really tasted good.

But then I lost the recipe, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember who gave it to me, so I couldn’t ask for a repeat.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed that I’d saved that recipe in a blog post that I never got around to posting. Baking time.

cakeBlueberry yogurt cake

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond essence
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups fresh blueberries

Grease and flour a 9x13x2 baking pan (or do as I did and use a 10-inch circular pan).

Cream butter & sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and almond essence and beat well. Sift dry ingredients together; add gradually to the egg mixture, alternating w/sour cream (or yogurt), ending with flour mixture. Fold in 1 c. of the blueberries. Pour 1/2 the batter into the pan and spread it out carefully. Scatter the remaining blueberries on top, and then spoon on the remaining batter, trying not to disturb your berry layer too much. Bake at 350F for 45-50 min (mine took just over an hour, but then the pan was smaller). Cool in pan 10 min, then turn onto a rack to finish cooling.

The friend who gave me the recipe suggests leaving the cake in the pan until it’s completely cool, but I managed to get mine out of the pan without major mishap.And then I struggled to wait for it to cool before cutting myself a sample.

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If ginger is the spice of life…*

The Brits invented ginger cake, it seems to me, so when a buddy told me about a ginger cake cook-off in The Guardian, we had no option but to test things out. We’re both rabid ginger fans, so the concept of adding large amounts of fresh, crystallized and powdered ginger to a common-or-garden cake seemed like a recipe for perfection.

It was, producing a fiery golden cake with a lingering hint of Tate and Lyle golden syrup that left me swimming in nostalgia. (To digress, I remember drizzling golden syrup over oatmeal (porridge), and watching it melt into the warmth for the ultimate winter breakfast.) I didn’t like ginger back then, though. I’m so glad tastes change.

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The Guardian’s “Perfect Ginger Cake”

100g butter
100g dark muscovado sugar (we used the darkest brown sugar we could find)
175g self-raising flour (That’s another Brit-thingy. You can buy it in Canukistan, or you can mix your own.)
4 tsp ground ginger (don’t skimp on this)
175g golden syrup
1 tbsp ginger wine (this is something else I remember seeing in my Brit days. I suspect you could substitute rum, or even orange juice)
2 eggs
Walnut-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (Our walnuts were more the size of ping-pong balls. We chopped them finely in the food processor.)
150g candied ginger, finely chopped (we chopped to chunks, for extra oomph)

  • Cream the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt until fluffy.
  • Add the golden syrup and ginger wine, and then the eggs, one at a time. 
  • Sift together the flour and ground ginger, and then add them to the cake. 
  • Stir in the fresh and candied ginger and spoon into a greased 9 inch (23 cm) loaf tin.
  • Bake at 160C/325F for about 50–60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (Ours took something over an hour, but the skewer went from soggy to clean very quickly indeed.)

The recipe recommends a glaze of glazing powdered sugar and another 2 tbsp of ginger wine, and then more crystallized ginger. Neither of us are great glaze fans, so we gave that one a miss.

From there we moved on to my third (and definitely final) experiment with the November Cook the Books challenge from online friends over in Seattle. My first experiment here was underwhelming at best (the olive oil cake was too sweet, and still gelatinous in the center). But the ginger molasses cookies seemed worth a try.

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We increased the ginger a little, with heaping teaspoons of chopped, fresh ginger rather than regular ones, and we added a half teaspoon of dried ginger.

The results? They are vaguely chewy, which is good, and decently molassessy, which is also good. But where’s the ginger?

Blogger Wannacomewithme posted the recipe, so I don’t need to bother. But then I might not bother with the recipe again either. If you do, may I recommend adding large quantities of ground ginger, and probably a cup or so of chopped-up crystallized ginger too.

Sorry, Cook the Books challenge. I’ll give this book a miss.

But the ginger cake? Twelve out of 10 at least. Maybe more.

*Apologies to William Shakespeare for the misquote

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Meyer lemon … syrup

I’m going to blame the internet for this one, or perhaps absent canning buddy for storing all the recipe books while we completed the Great Renovation Project I wrote about over in the other blog. But I got myself confused with two different internet recipes today, and created something that tastes lovely, but is definitely not a jam. The idea was to do something with Meyer lemons, which have hit a few of the Toronto stores, although friend and I wavered between an internet recipe that added oranges and one that added pectin. Not quite sure how the confusion started, but I think we added water for the first, sugar for the second and lemons from God only knows where, and no amount of boiling seemed able to transform the resulting concoction from watery mess to proper, well-set marmalade. The peel is floating irritatingly at the top, and the liquid is barely a syrup, although I had this vague hope that it might set a little as it cooled.

It didn’t. Clearly drastic measures were called for.

Introducing my regular lemon ginger cake, with Meyer lemon syrup drizzled over the top to add moisture and a bite.

Now I only have 4-1/2 jars of the concoction to use up.

Bizarre next day update: overnigjht the marmalade set.. Not a firm set, but definitely a set. Curious.

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