TIP 1 > Buy more than 4 ounces of ginger, because you’ll lose some in the peeling. Weigh the ginger after peeling, or buy at least 5 ounces. It won’t hurt to use more ginger than less, if you’re a ginger aficionado.
TIP 2 > I use the edge of an ordinary spoon to peel ginger, but if the skin is tough use a potato peeler.
TIP 3 > It won’t bake up properly in an 8” cake pan, so if you don’t have a 9” pan, fill the 8” pan only 2/3 full and put the rest of the batter in a small heatproof buttered bowl or ramekin to make a small cake (bake the little cake for about 10-15 minutes or more, depending on its size and your oven). I do this all the time so that I can have a “test” cake before I serve the big one to company, and also because I like to snack, but that’s another story...
TIP 4 > One recipe tester suggested adding candied ginger to the batter or for a topping. I asked her to let me know how it turns out. There can’t be too much ginger for me, but adding crystalized sugar might change the texture of the cake (sugar is hydrophilic and might change the texture of the cake), so I’ll wait to hear back. If YOU try it, please let me know.
TIP 5 > Some testers suggested that I mention that the batter is thin (which is how you want it), but I hadn’t noticed because I make a lot of cakes with thin batters.
TIP 6 > Some ginger root pieces are hotter than others, so beware. I think that the younger pieces are milder.
Naf Naf’s David’s Fresh
If you don’t make this cake, you’ll be sorry. But if you do make this cake, you’ll be sorrier because you’ll eat the whole thing in one day – especially if you’re a ginger freak like I am. Three different recipe testers made this cake and complained that the cake was so irresistible that it did not last one day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I am not responsible for any weight gain.
I’m not sure if David Lebovitz created this one or if he just tweaked someone else’s recipe, but I’ve tweaked his just a bit. I love his blog, and you might, too: www.davidlebovitz.com
For comparison, see David’s recipe online: www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fresh-ginger-cake-103238. Here’s my version.
4 ounces fresh ginger, or more
1 cup molasses (I like Grandma’s Original Molasses brand)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2½ cups flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup water or coffee
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten in a
Pinch of salt
1 Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or butter a 9” x 3” round cake pan or springform pan, and line it with a circle of parchment paper.
2 Mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil in a bowl. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and salt.
3 Peel the ginger (scrape off the peel with the edge of a spoon), and either grate it in a box grater, or slice it and chop the slices in a food processor.
4 Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, stir in the baking soda, and then mix the hot water into the molasses mixture. Stir in the ginger.
5 Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the batter. (I use my KitchenAid mixer set on stir.) Add the eggs and mix only until everything is thoroughly combined – do not overmix. The batter will be a bit thin.
6 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too quickly before the cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.
7 Cool the cake for at least 45-60 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Slice and serve plain, or with whipped cream and/or fruit.