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best of gingercakes

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73 replies to this topic

#31 Swisskaese

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:07 AM

I misunderstood from the title of this thread that you wanted to make a ginger cake, but it seems that everyone is making gingerbread which is different.

I can't find any molasses here. I will have to go to one of the Anglo stores and see if they have any.

This recipe looks interesting, Fresh Ginger Gingerbread

#32 MightyD

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 08:00 AM

the original search was indeed for a ginger CAKE but so many recipes use both cake and bread interchangeably.

baked the BWJ version and the leibovitz version yesterday. i found the BWJ one much denser than the leibovitz version and the molasses taste a little bit too strong as it had a whole 2 cups of it in the recipe. the leibovitz one was much lighter in texture and incredibly moist. it had a lovely, fresh flavour due to the huge amount of fresh ginger but i thought it tasted a bit one-dimensional.

i've baked the cook's illustrated version in the past and while it was one of the better gingerbreads/cakes i've had, i thought that it was pretty standard.

am interested in the recipe that swisskaese just posted above as it has buttermilk in it - might try baking that today.

#33 Ling

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 10:54 AM

^Do you taste the gingerbread on the second day? I only had one piece of cake left on the second day, but it was much tastier after it was allowed to ripen overnight.

#34 MightyD

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:44 AM

yep, tasted it warm from the oven and the next day as well. to me, it tasted just sweet and gingery. it was indeed very good (hubby really liked it) but i want something that will make me weak-in-the-knees good!!

#35 rickster

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 12:30 PM

I made the gingercake with Guinness stout over the weekend. The recipe was directly from Claudia Fleming's "The Last Course". While not bad, I was not thrilled with the flavor of the stout in the cake (and I like Guinness). I thought it left a bitter aftertaste and a somewhat vegetal taste note. It improved a bit on day 2 but I will probably try other recipes first.

I would not suggest reducing the sugar in this recipe.

#36 adinfinitu

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 12:59 PM

I made the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread recipe from Epicurious for Xmas, just as the recipe was written, using Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, two days in advance. Even though it was called gingerbread, it was a cake, not bread: very moist and dense with a bit of stickiness. I was very happy with it, as were a bunch of the guests, especially with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Edited by adinfinitu, 09 January 2006 - 01:03 PM.


#37 rickster

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 01:26 PM

The Last Course recipe is the one with 1 cup total sugar (1/2 brown, 1/2 granulated white) per the first Epicurious link on this thread. The higher sugar recipe might offset the bitterness.

#38 pastrymama

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 02:02 PM

Last year I tried the recipe with 1/2 cup each of brown and granulated sugar. I was not very happy with the result. This year I thought I would try it again, thinking I may have done something wrong. I didn't realize there were two versions of it, so I tried the one from Epicurious with 1 cup each type of sugar. It was totally different. Very moist and delicious. Later I realized there were two versions.
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#39 Ling

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 02:19 PM

I think I'm going to scale the sugar back on the Gramercy Tavern recipe...the one that calls for 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white, and THEN molasses too! Some reviewers suggested cutting back to 1/2 cup white sugar. Just thought I'd point that out. :smile: That's the next cake on my list, followed by the fresh ginger cake. The one SwisseKaese posted at the top of this page also looks good!

Edited by Ling, 09 January 2006 - 02:20 PM.


#40 sugarbuzz

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 02:40 PM

I have to add this recipe from a SF chefs blog. One of the few blogs I look forward to reading. She posted this recipe for gingerbread on the local PBS stations blogsite.

gingerbread

#41 Ling

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 04:38 PM

Did a side-by-side comparison of the fresh gingercakes today.

First recipe is the one posted by SwissKaese:Fresh gingerbread gingercake

Posted Image

Second is the fresh gingercake from Epicurious that I posted on the first page of this thread.
Fresh ginger cake

Posted Image

The second one was really good...it had FOUR TIMES the amount of molasses, and the black pepper gave it a nice bite. :smile:

Both cakes were very moist, and I would use both recipes again for different purposes. :smile:

Edited by Ling, 11 January 2006 - 02:22 PM.


#42 Swisskaese

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:11 AM

They look good Ling. Would you suggest adding more ginger to the first recipe to give it more of a kick?

#43 Ling

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 05:04 AM

Perhaps, but I think it's the amount of molasses in the first recipe that's a bit lacking! I compared the two recipes before I started baking, and they are not all that different (same amount of flour, 2 eggs, roughly same amount of fat and liquid).

The first recipe has 1/4 cup molasses, while the second one has 1 full cup!

Edited by Ling, 11 January 2006 - 05:09 AM.


#44 the g-man

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 10:03 AM

^Those cakes look nice. Did you eat them with ice cream or anything to accompany them? Looking at your photos, I was thinking of our local celebrity chef's gingerbread dessert served with pumpkin ice cream and caramel sauce.

#45 Ling

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:25 PM

^As much as I love caramel sauce and pumpkin ice-cream, I ate the cakes plain. :smile: (I pulled the cakes out of the oven half an hour before I had to go to work--no time to make caramel!)

#46 Kim D

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:06 PM

Perhaps, but I think it's the amount of molasses in the first recipe that's a bit lacking! I compared the two recipes before I started baking, and they are not all that different (same amount of flour, 2 eggs, roughly same amount of fat and liquid).

The first recipe has 1/4 cup molasses, while the second one has 1 full cup!

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Ling,

The recipe in Baking with Julia has 2 cups of unsulphured molasses. :shock:

Is there any possibility that you'll make that one? I would be very interested to hear your opinion.

- Kim
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#47 Ling

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 11:41 PM

^Hi Kim, I think I've read your posts in the BWJ thread...you've made that cake before twice now? Three times? Do you enjoy it? It seems like there's too much molasses in it for my tastes...the 2nd fresh ginger cake, with 2 1/2 cups of flour 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup of molasses was just about perfect for me. It's plenty sweet already, in fact. (The BWJ recipe has 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of dark brown sugar, AND 2 cups of molasses for those who don't own the book.) Seems incredibly sweet to me! Is it possible that it is a misprint?

After baking the last few cakes, I think I can kind of estimate what the BWJ gingerbread cakes taste like, and it doesn't sound too appealing...I love molasses, but too much in a recipe makes it bitter and harsh, would you agree? :smile:

Edited by Ling, 12 January 2006 - 01:22 PM.


#48 Kim D

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 06:24 AM

It isn't a misprint. If you read this post, you will see that I thought the same thing. The video proves that the amount is correct.

The BwJ thread has a couple of posts from people who like that recipe. I had hoped that one of them would chime in with the secret to making that recipe work. There must be a trick. Some method that I need to use. And since you're the Queen of Sweets, I thought you might know it. :raz:

I prefer cakes that I can eat as is. No frosting. The fresh ginger cake is great for that. I don't see myself making the BwJ recipe again. I really wanted to like it but it's too much of a waste to make it and pitch it.

So, has anyone else out there made that recipe with 2 cups of molasses and enjoyed the result?

- Kim
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#49 Kim D

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 07:23 AM

I made Fresh Ginger Cake last night. This time I used Brer Rabbit Mild molasses. The molasses flavor was stronger than I remember it tasting when I used Grandma's Original.

I grated the ginger using the large holes on my box grater instead of using my Microplane Grater/Zester. Worked grate. :raz: All the stringy stuff got left behind.

The cake has a crunchy sugary crust. My husband said it stuck to his teeth. I don't remember the crust being so, um, crusty. Could be the Brer Rabbit molasses. I served it with a bit of homemade creme fraiche as that's what I had on hand and it helped mellow out the strong molasses flavor. I think some lemon curd would be nice but cut with some whipped cream so the lemon taste would be more subdued.

I rewatched the Julia Child video and found it interesting. They mentioned the professional technique of mise en place. When Julia tasted the cake, she pronounced it the best she'd had. Makes me want to try that recipe again.

So, I am convinced that the ingredient amounts are correct in the Baking with Julia recipe. That leaves the technique and ingredients themselves. Perhaps I need to whip the butter more. Perhaps the molasses used is formulated differently than what I can purchase.
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#50 Ling

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 02:51 PM

My "Fresh Ginger cake" didn't have a crunchy sugary crust...it was super moist, and the top was slightly sticky. I used Delmonico "Fancy" molasses since I couldn't find a mild molasses. Next time, I'll probably use 14 tbsp molasses and 2 tbsp corn syrup to make the molasses slightly less assertive.

I should mention that to all these recipes, I'm doubling the amount of spices (only after tasting the batter with the amount of spices as written, though) partly b/c my spices aren't all that great, and partly b/c I do like intensely flavoured gingercakes. :smile:

(Kim...I just watched the PBS video. I think this is just a case where your tastes differ--just b/c Julia likes the recipe a lot doesn't mean that it's the best for you, necessarily! :smile: The inclusion of the cocoa and espresso powder is interesting, and I think I'll experiment and write my own gingerbread recipe after doing the Gramercy Tavern one, and try to combine all the elements about each cake that I enjoy.)

#51 Kim D

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 03:37 PM

Ling, I'm with you. The cocoa and espresso powder are what keep me trying that recipe. I am so looking forward to trying your final recipe.

- Kim
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#52 SweetSide

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 07:14 AM

I saw that you posted in the best of ginger cakes thread that you liked the Baking with Julia recipe best. Would you mind replying in that thread with the brand of molasses you used and whether you used 2 entire cups of molasses?

I want to like that recipe and maybe you can help me figure out where I went wrong.

Thanks in advance!
- Kim



Kim, I used Grandma's molasses in the BWJ recipe. Yellow label that says "unsulphured" "mild flavor" on it and I did follow the recipe exactly. I was doing plated desserts at the time, and I did my plating with whipped cream with a bit of orange zest in it and curls of candied orange peel.

I didn't, however, taste test against the other recipes in this thread, so I can't say how they compare. But, I do like the dark flavor of molasses.

Beautiful cakes Ling -- I think I'll be trying that second one myself when I have a chance!
Cheryl, The Sweet Side

#53 Ling

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 10:37 AM

^Thanks, I really like the taste of the fresh ginger in the cakes and I hope you like it too! I use the food processor to grate the ginger.

#54 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 04:26 PM

the recipe then calls for adding the baking soda to the boiling water, then add this mixture to the molasses mixture above.  won't this just kill the leavening??  i've compared this recipe to so many others and i can't find any other recipes that even remotely resemble something like this!

can anyone shed any light on this?

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I have used several recipes that called for this procedure. All of them contained spice, such as persimmon bread, banana bread, etc. Perhaps the spice has something to do with it?
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#55 David Lebovitz

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 07:52 AM

Hi Brian: Glad you like the Fresh Ginger Cake. Thanks for the kudos as well. It's one of my favorite recipes (and prevents me from trying any other Ginger Cakes...)

-David

#56 Kim D

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 09:46 AM

I saw that you posted in the best of ginger cakes thread that you liked the Baking with Julia recipe best. Would you mind replying in that thread with the brand of molasses you used and whether you used 2 entire cups of molasses?

I want to like that recipe and maybe you can help me figure out where I went wrong.

Thanks in advance!
- Kim


Kim, I used Grandma's molasses in the BWJ recipe. Yellow label that says "unsulphured" "mild flavor" on it and I did follow the recipe exactly. I was doing plated desserts at the time, and I did my plating with whipped cream with a bit of orange zest in it and curls of candied orange peel.

I didn't, however, taste test against the other recipes in this thread, so I can't say how they compare. But, I do like the dark flavor of molasses.

Beautiful cakes Ling -- I think I'll be trying that second one myself when I have a chance!

View Post

SweetSide, thanks for replying!

I had one bottle of molasses in my cupboard for several years. It just wasn't a taste that I liked. And then my husband started using it to make barbecue sauce and I developed a taste for it. And now, I really like it. Enough to have a favorite brand. Grandma's.

I'll be making the Baking with Julia recipe again. As written. Because I'm stubborn.

- Kim
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#57 cakewalk

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 03:55 PM

I made the Guinness Stout ginger cake, and it is truly wonderful. A bit of a story:

I mixed the batter about a week ago, figuring I'd freeze it and then bake it next weekend because sister, brother, et al. are coming over and we're having brunch and I'll have a lot of stuff to do. That was when I discovered alcohol doesn't feeze all that easily. :raz: The batter hung out in the freezer a while, semi-frozen, and I baked it Friday night because I knew some people would be dropping in this morning. So, with due diligence to all the warnings on this thread, I let the baked cake hang out covered in the fridge since Friday night, and we had it today, and my goodness it was good. Still had a bit of a ginger bite, but a good one, not too strong. Wonderful spiciness, moist, a little dense. I used one cup of molasses (Grandma's), 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar. This is a really good recipe. Next I try the fresh ginger cake. :smile:

#58 Ling

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 04:40 PM

^That's awesome that the cake keeps well. I was going to bake that cake last night, but I went to two liquor stores and neither sold Guiness by the can or bottle. (I don't drink beer so buying a pack would kind of be a waste.) I gave up and ended up partying all night, only to come home and eat an ENTIRE "Fresh Ginger cake" (the David Lebovitz recipe that I love...I baked another one and froze it!) straight from the freezer. (And yes, the cake was still delicious!!)

#59 highchef

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 04:53 PM

I like gingerbread and have a pan that is a heavy aluminum gingerbread man, about 3/4th's of any recipe I've tried worth. I usually make them at christmas, wrap a red ribbon around the neck (2 reasons, decorative and the neck is weak, so tends to split there when I unmold). I make 2 recipes and it'll make 3 cakes. I also make scones with candied ginger and on the backof the can it has a recipe for TRIPLE gingerbread, using the candied ginger as well as fresh and dried. I have not tried it, just discovered it. I shall try to post pictures of the pan and will post the recipe for the gingerbread (my version will follow as I'm just stupid stubborn about following recipes exactly). I am playing it loose tomorrow as I'm just freakin tired. Have been on my feet doing whatever since Sept.. It's good gingerbread weather, damp.
Btw, I love lemon sauce with gingerbread, and one of my favorite recipes is 'Martha Washington's gingerbread' from I believe Charleston's recipeits. I shall check.
Tomorrow, is definately gingerbread day. I will Post later, or pm if you're game to try triple gingerbread first. I just ain't gonna do it tonight!

edit: lost words...found them.

Edited by highchef, 15 January 2006 - 04:55 PM.


#60 lou_31

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 07:19 AM

Here is another recipe:

http://lifeandhealth...1619598,00.html

Nigel Slater's, which also features in his Kitchen Diaries. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks similar to one of Nigella's, which is very good. I think stem ginger (preserved ginger in syrup) is a great way to increase the heat a little.





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