Friday, November 12, 2010
Ginger Cakes with Chocolate Glaze
We are now squarely planted in a chilly season that calls for the warm embrace of spice and chocolate. As evening breaks earlier and the familiar sound of rain arrives right on cue, ginger and chocolate seem to join perfectly together at our table.
This is a recipe that balances the boldness and intrigue of these two earthy ingredients. The cakes are warmed by a full jolt of ginger and the richness of molasses and deepened to a sort of butterscotchy goodness with pure butter and a splash of rum. Once the cakes are plated they are handsomely draped in a sheen of dark chocolate to make resistance nearly futile. Heady aromas, chewy and silky textures and strong but soothing flavors co-mingle all in one bite.
This is a rich and satisfying homage to fall. Share over a cup of good strong coffee or a nip of your favorite spirit.
- Coarsely chop the crystallized ginger into small pieces using a sharp chef’s knife. It gets sticky but keep going. Add the chopped pieces to the flour mixture and toss to coat and separate.
- When adding the egg and the molasses to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, it will start to break but it will come together once the rest of the ingredients are added.
- I baked these in 6 oz (3.75" diameter) tapered ramekins for 23 minutes. You can also use a standard muffin pan, which will yield about 6 smaller cakes, so those will bake much quicker. Check them after about 13 - 15 minutes. These are very moist cakes with a dense crumb so be careful not to overbake. A toothpick test for doneness should have a few moist crumbs.
- For the chocolate glaze, chopping the chocolate into fairly small bits helps it to melt more evenly and efficiently. When the hot cream is added, let it sit for about 2 – 3 minutes so the chocolate can absorb the heat. Then stir gently and slowly, starting in the middle and working outward in concentric circles, to prevent it from cooling down too fast and creating air bubbles. The glaze can be reheated over a low simmering bain marie.
- You can add a couple of teaspoons of corn syrup to the glaze to keep it shiny and improve viscosity.
- An alternative way to enjoy these cakes is to forego the chocolate glaze and serve them with poached pear or sautéed apples and cream or simply with some whipped cream flavored with rum, brandy, Kahlua or orange liqueur or a little bit of marmalade. Or vanilla ice cream, of course.
- If you love ginger, try a delicious Ginger Ice Cream.
Ginger Cakes with Chocolate Glaze
Makes 4 cakes
2/3 C flour
2 t ground ginger
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 C (2 oz) finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 oz (1 stick) butter @ room temperature
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs @ room temperature
1/3 C molasses
2 T milk
2 T rum
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Grease four 6 oz custard cups or six of the cups in a standard muffin pan.
Sift together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder and salt.
Finely chop the crystallized ginger. Add to the flour mixture and toss with your fingers to coat and separate each piece.
Combine the milk and the rum.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Blend in the molasses. The mixture will look like it’s breaking.
Add half the flour mixture and mix just a bit. Add the milk and rum and continue mixing. Add the remaining flour and mix just a few seconds. Finish mixing by hand until all the flour is incorporated.
Pour into prepared custard cups and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 23 minutes or until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs. Place on a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a small spatula or thin bladed knife around the edges to loosen the cakes and invert.
For the chocolate glaze, finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat the cream (and corn syrup, if using) on low heat until it reaches a good simmer. Remove from heat, add vanilla and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for about 2 - 3 minutes. Stir slowly until fully combined.
Plate the cakes and spoon some chocolate glaze over the top of each.