Sticky Ginger Cake

Auntie Vina and Uncle Hector lived at Hill House, a busy dairy farm on the moors of County Durham, where I spent many summers as a child. The farm hands all came into the farmhouse for meals, so Auntie Vina and her daughter in law Little Mary spent a lot of time cooking. She taught me all her basic cake recipes, such as sponge cake, chocolate cake, ginger cake and fruit cake.

Times have changed and most recipes using ginger now call for the fresh kind rather than dried. I decided to do some research online, looking for ginger cakes which use fresh ginger, or a combination of ground and fresh. I then adapted Auntie Vina’s recipe, using some of the new ideas I had found online. This is the result which I served as a dessert with Mangoes in Ginger Wine. If mangoes are in season where you live, give this quick and easy recipe a try.

Sticky Ginger Cake

250g unsalted butter
½ cup water
¾ cup treacle (or molasses)
¾ cup golden syrup (or honey)
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ cup milk
2-3 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger (to taste)

Preheat oven to 165°C. Butter and line a 22cm baking pan – round or square. I chose a ring tin – always a bit risky because being fluted you can’t line it, but fortunately the cake came out in one piece.

Place butter, water, treacle, golden syrup and brown sugar in a mixing bowl then heat in the microwave (covered to stop it spattering everywhere) for a minute or two until melted. Alternatively heat in a saucepan over moderate heat.

When cooled a bit, beat in the eggs with electric beaters or a hand whisk. Add the sifted flour, salt and spices, the milk and lastly fold in the fresh ginger. Scrape into cake tin and bake for 40-60 mins. Cooking times vary depending on your oven and the cake tin you use. If you overcook the cake it won’t be sticky, so as soon as the top is firm and springy to the touch it’s ready. Remove from the oven and when cool remove from the tin.

Serve as a dessert with whipped cream with a little rum or brandy added and some stewed fruit. Or serve with Mangoes in Ginger Wine as shown in the photo.

Or serve as a cake dusted with icing sugar or drizzled with lemon icing (1 cup sifted icing sugar mixed with 2 Tbs lemon juice).

Serves between 12 and 20 depending on serving size

Note: if you don’t have self-raising flour use plain flour and 2 tsp baking powder

Sticky Gingerbread Loaf

I love trying new gingerbread or ginger cake recipes. I think this is the fourth one to appear on this blog since I started writing it, over ten years ago.

This recipe is adapted from one in The Great British Book of Baking by Linda Collister, written to accompany BBC2’s The Great British Bake-off with Mary Berry. She says it tastes just like a popular UK brand of sticky gingerbread, made by McVities.

Instead of using scales, I prefer to measure most of my ingredients with an Australian measuring cup, which holds 250 ml. While you can eat this cake as soon as it has cooled, if you leave it in a sealed tin for a couple of days it will get stickier. I made it in one large loaf pan, but you could use two small loaf pans, or a square or round cake pan. I used rounded to heaped teaspoons of all the spices, because I like my gingerbread to be nice and spicy.

125g butter, cut up
1/3 cup golden syrup
1/3 up black treacle (or substitute molasses)
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup milk
1½ cups self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon each ground ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice
1 egg

Grease and line one large loaf pan or two small ones. I used a large silicone pan which measures 23×13 cm or 9×5 inches. I just sprayed it with oil as silicone doesn’t need lining with paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 170°C if you have a fan-forced oven, which tends to be hotter.

In a medium to large saucepan, heat the butter, golden syrup, treacle or molasses, brown sugar and milk. Turn off the heat as soon as the butter has melted as you don’t want it to boil. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices through a sieve and mix well with a balloon whisk. Lastly thoroughly mix in the egg, then scrape mixture into the cake pan.

Bake for 35-45 minutes. Mine was ready in 35 minutes, but my oven tends to be a bit on the hot side. When ready the cake will be firm to touch in the middle. If you’re not sure test with a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle. It should come out clean, but you don’t want to overcook this cake.

Makes one large cake.

Ginger Cake

This ginger cake recipe is a combination of one I’ve had for years and one by David Lebovitz, which uses a lot more fresh ginger. I like to make cakes in a square tin, so they can be cut into lots of small squares. This plate was my contribution to morning tea at a recent meeting of the Women’s International Club. They disappeared in no time.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 cup molasses*
100g grated fresh ginger
2½ cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
½ tsp each ground cloves and ground black pepper
To serve:
Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and bottom line a 22cm square or round cake tin. With electric beaters, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Gradually beat in the oil. Heat the water in a pan until boiling point, then remove from the heat and mix in the molasses and the fresh ginger. Add to the cake mixture with the sifted flour, bicarbonate of soda and dry spices.

Scrape mixture into cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for 45-60 minutes or until firm on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Start checking after 45 minutes. Ovens vary and cake pans vary. If overcooked the cake will be dry.

Cool the cake then shake icing sugar over the top using a sieve and cut into squares. Keeps for several days in an airtight container.

Cut’s into 16-20 or more servings

* you can substitute golden syrup or treacle or half of each

Iced Ginger Cake

I decided to invent a ginger version of everyone’s favourite carrot cake – the one with the cream cheese icing – and came up with this. Using three different types of this versatile tubor – fresh, powdered and crystallised – this cake gives ginger addicts a serious overdose.

Ginger Cake250g butter at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs black treacle (or substitute Golden Syrup)
3 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1½ Tbs powdered ginger
3 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain yoghurt or buttermilk
1 x 250g Philadelphia style cream cheese, at room temperature
250g icing sugar (about 2 cups) sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
Crystallized ginger to decorate

Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 20-22cm (8-9″) square cake tin with baking paper. Place first five ingredients in food processor and mix well. Add eggs and when incorporated add flour and yoghurt or buttermilk. Stop to scrape down the sides then mix a bit more. Scrape into tin and smooth the top with a knife. Bake for 30-40 mins or until well-risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin. When cold tip out and ice the bottom which gives you a nice flat surface. Decorate with slivers of crystallized ginger – I just used one per square, but you could use more! Cut into squares and store in a container with a lid. Keeps for a day or two outside the fridge in cooler weather, but in summer it’s best to refrigerate.

Icing: beat cream cheese and vanilla with icing sugar, either by hand or in food processor, using the pulse button, until light and fluffy. Don’t over-beat or the icing will go runny.

Makes 16 generous squares

Sticky Honey Chicken

This weekend we went to Woodlands, our 46 hectare rural property at Hereford Hall, 40 minutes out of Braidwood, New South Wales.  Sometimes we invite friends or family to join us, but this weekend Matthew wanted to prepare the area around the house for planting a lawn and sow the seeds, so there was no time for socialising.

Browsing through this month’s Delicious magazine before we left, I read a letter from a reader which mentioned a recipe for Sticky Honey Chicken with Ginger and Garlic by Rick Stein. It had apparently appeared in the magazine many moons ago and the reader said it was so good she was still making it regularly.  I decided to find it on the internet, print off a copy and make it over the weekend.  Here is my slightly adapted version.  I cut out the olive oil – the chicken was fatty enough without it – and added fresh coriander as a garnish.  I also cut down a bit on the quantities in the glaze and used only chicken thighs, because I’m not mad about drumsticks.  The cayenne pepper gives the sauce a nice kick and any leftovers are nice cold.

Rick Stein’s Sticky Honey Chicken with Ginger and Garlic

8-12 chicken pieces – drumsticks, thighs etc, skin left on
juice of one small or ½ large lemon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1½ Tbs honey
2-3 cm fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbs HP sauce (I substituted BBQ sauce)
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 Tbs tomato puree
2 Tbs red wine or cider vinegar
2 Tbs soy sauce
2  large garlic cloves, crushed
fresh coriander to garnish

Preheat oven to 200°C. Trim chicken of any excess fat or skin.  Place in a shallow ovenproof dish in one layer.  Sprinkle with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt. Turn chicken pieces until well coated. Cover and set aside while you mix the glaze.

Make glaze by mixing all ingredients together. Roast chicken for 15 minutes skin side up. Turn chicken pieces over, spoon over half the glaze and roast for another 15 minutes.  Turn over so they are skin side up again, spoon over remaining glaze and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through.  Garnish with coriander. Serve with steamed rice, with a knob of butter added and a steamed green vegetable or green salad.

Serves 4-6