Cake baking ain’t a strength I'm afraid to say. Not that I don’t love reading about baking or, better still, eating baked goods, it’s just that I never seem to be able to achieve the results I crave. Too impatient methinks. When Wendy recently posted a call for easy, no fail cake recipes, I knew exactly how she felt.
So this recipe, adapted from one in ‘The Perfect Cookbook’ by David Herbert, is just the kind of thing for me – no need to lug out the Kitchenaid; no need to wait for butter to soften (no microwave in this little kitchen) and, best of all, not a lot to wash up afterwards. ‘Stress-free’ cake making, just as Mr H. suggests.
And the step-sons love it.
Cinnamon and ginger cake
This is quick to make and best eaten within a day or two. Don’t find that it usually lasts that long, especially if you make the gingery syrup to soak the cake that is suggested below.
60g (2oz) of unsalted butter ½ cup of golden syrup 1 cup of stoneground, wholemeal flour (or white flour) 1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda 1 teaspoon of baking powder 1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon of allspice ½ teaspoon of 'fragrant sweet spice’ (optional) ½ cup of caster sugar ½ cup of soy milk (or dairy milk if you like) 1 egg, free-range and organic, beaten
Preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F). Grease and line the base of a loaf tin with baking paper.
Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan over a low heat. Cool.
Sift the flour, bi-carb soda, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Pour in the milk, followed by the egg and mix well with a fork. Gradually add the melted butter and golden syrup, stirring until well combined.
Pour into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes away clean. Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar if you like.
If you can wait that long.
A syrup to make it something special: This is lovely as is, a sort of simple, fragrant afternoon tea cake. But you can smarten it up by making it into a sticky syrup cake. Mr H. suggests placing ½ cup of sugar, ½ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger in a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
Mr H. says to spoon a little on top of the hot cake when it comes out of the oven. It then becomes dessert. I disagree. Pour the whole lot over the cake and things get even better. Especially when served with this yoghurt - the Greek one with a hint of honey is fantastic stuff.