Four Spice and Ginger CakeFour Spice and Ginger Cake

I have to get together with some of the people who visit this blog, namely the bakers. I really need to focus more on learning the finer point, or really, the basics of baking.

I was reading Megan’s blog, My Baking Adventures, and she has a list of things to learn. I’m going to do this too. I love the idea of baking bread, all sorts of breads and cakes and pies  but so far… well, let’s just say people have been very , very kind to me about my baking! The taste is there, I think, but it’s the presentation that is sadly lacking. The finesse. The artistry.

This Four Spice and Ginger Cake is from a Creole cookbook and as simple as it sounded, I goofed. Luckily, it turned out to be quite tasty, but definitely not because I followed the directions!

The batter, ready to be bakedThe Batter, Ready to be Baked

The recipe calls for the cake to be baked for 45 minutes and at that point my cake was still liquid inside. Even after a good hour of sitting on a rack, it was still liquidy. I put it back into the oven and increased the heat to 350 degrees F. Thirty minutes later, it was still wobbly – it needed about another 20 minutes for perfection. Altogether, I’m not really sure of my "real" total baking time but it was a lot more then the original 45 minutes, and at least a portion of that time was at the higher 350 degrees F.

Done!Finally – done!

Where did I go wrong? Maybe my oven is going. That would explain why my baking is hit and miss. I think I’m going to have to test the temperature to see.

I loved the cake just the way it was, nice and gingery and peppery. Belle isn’t a big fan of ginger, but she enjoyed the cake, too. She spread creamed cheese on top and loved it. Dylan said,"Where is the frosting, Daddy?". Not that he would have eaten it anyway. Although to be fair he did lick a piece to try it.

Belle’s note: Despite Ward’s problems with the baking time and oven temperature, this Four Spice and Ginger Cake was very delicious. Not too sweet, with just the right touch of rich spiciness, each slice was moist and incredibly good. It really called out for a cream cheese frosting of some sort, but I got around that by spreading the slices I had with plain spreadable cream cheese – delicious! As an added bonus, the occasional bite offered up the sweet spice of the candied ginger – as Ward says, I’m not a big fan of ginger, but this was quite the perfect touch!

The following recipe is adapted from Creole, by Babette de Rozières.

Four Spice and Ginger Cake

8 large free-range eggs
1 cup sugar
pinch fine sea salt
1 cup butter, softened and cut up into 1/2" cubes
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g (approx. 1 cup) crystallized ginger (candied), chopped
3 tbsp quatre épices*

*quatre épices (four spices)

Mix together:

1 tbsp white peppercorns, ground in mortar and pestle
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground cloves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, break the eggs and add the sugar and salt.
  3. Mix with an electric hand mixer at low speed until fluffy.
  4. Add the butter, vanilla and mix.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and quatre épices. Mix well. 
  6. Spray a cake pan with vegetable non-stick spray.
  7. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 45-60 minutes.
  8. Check to see if a toothpick comes out dry, if not, bake for an additional 15 minutes and check again. Repeat this until done.  
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