This cake is an absolute winner. A real, bona fide winner. It’s because of this cake that I won the Blognix Retreat Scholarship competition, being the recipient of a free ticket to the weekend blogger conference/retreat which is held at a spa hotel in Northamptonshire during February next year. The competition simply asked entrants to make a video only 90 seconds or less, explaining why they should win the scholarship. In an underhand tactic, I went for the achilles heel and made the subject of my video that universally loved object, cake.
I’ve always had a policy on cake that it’s a universally appreciated phenomenon, something that holds intrinsic value to everyone. In the front of my recipe notebook there’s a space to put contact details, where I have my name and phone number. Below that is a ‘REWARD $’ section and I’ve completed it with the word ‘CAKE’. It’s not a joke though, I’m utterly serious. If I lost my notebook and some kind soul found it and returned it to me, I’d happily give them lots of cake as a reward. My hope is that they would feel thoroughly recompensed by such gifts.
Cake as currency is an interesting concept. In the past, when I’ve done favours for people and they’ve been insistent on giving me money, I’ve often declined and suggested they get a cake instead. You see, cake is arguably more enjoyable than money, because it doesn’t come with any of the problems which money creates. It’s also far less vulgar than money and something that can easily tie people from all parts of society and even countries together.
Anyway, the cake did it’s job, winning the hearts and minds of the judges and I was successful in my efforts, you can see the video below:
And finally, after all this time, the recipe has now made it onto the blog. For some unknown reason, that first cake disappeared pretty quickly and I had no photos to show for it, so I’ve made it again for you (completely altruistically, I had no vested interest whatsoever[ahem!]) and it’s still pretty epic, especially if you like ginger, which I guess you do, hence why you’re reading this.
Ginger cake is something I grew up with. We always had cake at home, there was special box in the larder just for storing our cake reserves. I remember fondly the sticky Jamaica Ginger Cake which you can still buy in the shops, it’s a thick, sweet, heavy cake that sticks to your hands and tastes awesome.
It was with this in mind that I created this dark and fiery ginger cake recipe. I also wanted to go big on the ginger, I wanted a cake which had that fiery edge that only comes with lots of ginger, a level of heat which the aforementioned commercially available cake stops short of. Alongside this, I wanted it to be a thick, dark cake, so decided to use rye flour as well as wholemeal spelt, knowing that using both of these together should give a rich, dense mixture. Spelt and rye cakes also have the slightly peculiar habit of tasting better 24 hours after being made. So with this I positively encourage you to make it a day in advance, however, as with all cake, it might be a challenge for it to last that long…
Dark & fiery ginger cake
By Gavin Wren
Uses a 20cm springform cake tin and two mixing bowls.
125g wholemeal spelt flour
75g rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
0.5 teaspoon ground nutmeg
150ml maple syrup (you can substitute this for other syrups)
100ml ground nut oil (you can also substitute this for other oils)
2 medium eggs
100g grated fresh ginger
100g over-ripe banana flesh from black-skinned banana (approx 1 large banana)
100g plain yoghurt (any type such as cow, goat, soya etc)
Date and coconut frosting for the topping.
Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
Sieve all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well, so that they’re evenly combined.
In another bowl, place all of the wet ingredients and whisk with either a hand or electric mixer for a few minutes, until all throughly mixed and evenly textured.
Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and combine with a spatula until it’s evenly mixed. Immediately pour the mixture into the cake tin and place in the oven for 50 minutes.
Check if a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean, if not, place back in the oven for 5 minutes then check again. Repeat if necessary.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. Once cooled slightly, remove the cake from the tin and leave it to cool on the wire rack. Top with optional date and coconut frosting.