Saturday, 5 May 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Double Ginger Cake

It's spring, and there are good seasonal ingredients again! After last night's warm salad of Jersey Royals, asparagus and bacon with the world's faffiest artichokes, we were in need of a little extra somethin'. No chocolate or cream in the house to lift those pears in the fruit bowl out of obscurity, so we embarked on making a cake.

(Ok. So all my posts are about cake. Even the salmon was in cake form. I might have certain... proclivities. )

Yes, a cake. Listening to Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, I hauled the multitude of ingredients out of the store cupboard to make this near-perfect ginger cake. It's one of my favourites in the book - especially because I've never, never had all the ingredients it calls for in the right quantity, and substitutions never seem to ruin it.

In the past I've had to use plain caster sugar instead of dark muscovado, marmalade for the syrup, and possibly some dried apricots for the sultanas. It always tastes just as good. This time, a little treacle is required.

I think its advantage is that you don't need to cream the butter and sugar at the start. By melting the wet ingredients together, the whole thing seems a lot more incorporated and smooth - this must maximise air bubbles that give it such a beautiful lightness.

The top of the cake crisps to add seductive bite. I can only suggest you try a sizeable square, warm from the oven, with a dollop of freshly whipped cream on the top for a completely erotic experience.

But like the best lovers, this cake is still good the next day. Ok, the crispy edge has gone and its perfume isn't as strong, but it's mighty fine with a cup of tea in a sunbeam.

Please, make a date with this pudding. And get a whole bunch more by buying Nigel's Kitchen Diaries through our Amazon store. Now available in paperback for the weak-limbed!