Dark Chocolate and Ginger Cake

Ginger and chocolate cakeI  wanted to try out a new baking tin I recently bought (Alan Silverwood loose base tin) and was going through my larder trying to figure out what kind of cake to bake. I saw a bag of candied ginger that had been there since last year before Christmas and I never got round to doing anything with it so I thought something with ginger…. trusty google gave me thousands of recipes. But I didn’t want just ginger, I wanted something with it. Why not chocolate? I found several different recipes with ginger and chocolate, but I didn’t have all of the required ingredients at home (ground almonds? No, only flaked. Fresh chilli? No, only dried. Fresh ginger? Used the last bit up for dinner! And so on!).

So this cake is really based on a concoction of recipes I saw online and I mentally filed the cake under “experimental cakes that might need improvement!”, but it turned out better than I thought.

Here’s what I used on ingredients:

50g dark brown sugar

2 tbsp black treacle

75g golden sirup

85g unsalted butter

100ml milk

75g chopped candied ginger

1 large free-range egg, beaten

225g plain flour

¼ tsp sea salt

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

80g of dark chocolate

20g of milk chocolate

Heat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Put the sugar, treacle, honey, milk and ginger into a saucepan and slowly melt it all together. Let it cool down to room temperature while you measure out the dry ingredients. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.  Add the beaten egg to the saucepan and stir it in. Then add the dry ingredients. Lastly add the chocolate pieces and fold them in. Don’t overbeat the batter.

Spoon it into either a loaf tin (450g) or into a 7inch round cake tin and put it in the oven for approx. 40 minutes.

I wanted to make a buttercream with it and by searching for “fluffiest vanilla buttercream ever” I came across this blog and reading “believe me when I say this is the lightest, fluffiest buttercream frosting you will ever make” convinced me to give it a go.

The frosting is very unusual as it contains flour. Here are the ingredients from the website:

1/2 cup whole milk (I used semi-skimmed because that’s all I had)

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla paste)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used caster sugar)

Here’s how I made it:

I added the flour to the milk and whisked it in while over a low heat. Once it had thickened I took it off the stove to let it cool. Then I whisked the butter with the sugar in my trusty kitchenmixer until it had a soft creamy consistence. I added the vanilla paste to my cooled down milk and added it to the sugar/butter mixture. Turn your mixer up to high speed. And as the original blog post says, it’s true, you will look at this buttercream mixing in the bowl and think “that’s not going to work out” and then “how much longer does it need whipping?” That’s when you need to step away from it. Make yourself a cup of tea (or in my case, I opened a bottle of wine, seeing that it was evening!) and set my timer to ten minutes. When I came back I had this wonderfully creamy, merengue like, shiny, fluffy and light buttercream in the bowl.

It may take more than ten minutes to beat the hell out of this buttercream and you may also see it split/curdle… don’t despair, just whisk it longer and it will be alright in the end.

For the ginger and chocolate cake I added half a teaspoon of Sicilian Orange flavour to the buttercream.