English Gingerbread Cake – Round 2.1

I’m baaaaaaaaack! I had a wonderful, fabulous, amazing, exciting, adventurous trip and loved every minute… but I missed baking! My cousin and I made visits to 3 of the 5 Magnolia Bakeries in NYC, and I tasted something different every time. Scrumptious! Have to say that I loved their cakes more than their cupcakes, probably because of my new addiction to flavor and aversion to sugar. 🙂

I baked all afternoon yesterday – two cakes and two loaves of banana bread. So let the blogging begin. Sorry in advance for the lack of photographs… my excitement at being back in the kitchen contributed to my forgetting about the camera entirely… until almost the end of the day. 😦

To begin…. another attempt at the English Gingerbread Cake. I myself was disappointed with the outcome of both Rounds, but found them comparable (which is an exciting, good thing). My taste testers and I felt that it really didn’t live up to the “gingerbread” name. It didn’t have that zing, that pop of flavor that you get from really wonderful, spicy gingerbread. And not that every gingerbread has to have that extra pop! of flavor, but it just was hum-drum. And around these parts we don’t put up with hum-drum. 😉 So, I researched gingerbread…. I found that while Rose’s recipe only called for cinnamon and ginger, most other recipes had at least 2, sometimes 4 additional flavors/spices. These included nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and molasses. I elected to tweak the original proportions of the recipe and also supplement them (see below). I also decided that I’d use less of the lemon syrup; in my previous attempts I’d made an effort to use ALL of the syrup, and I think that was a mistake. The lemon really overpowered the cake, no matter when you tasted it or at what temperature.

My final alterations/additions: 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, .5 tsp cloves, .5 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp molasses, and only half of the lemon syrup. I added the molasses to the egg mixture while it was in the saucepan. Also, this time I decided to try using a different GF flour mixture. I really liked using Jeanne’s GF flour mix in the Apple Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake, but unfortunately I didn’t have all of the ingredients. I elected to forge ahead anyways and substitute with what I had available in my pantry. The final mix: 170 g brown rice flour, 205 g sweet white rice flour, 120 g tapioca flour, 120 g potato starch, 45 g cornstarch, 2 tsp xanthan gum. I may be crazy, but after I’d mixed it all together it even looked and smelled like regular bleached all-purpose flour. WEIRD. I used the same wheat flour mix as last time (quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, xanthan gum).

Because I struggled, during Round 2.0) to get the cake strip to stay on my 8″ square pan and because the batter overflowed the pan, I made the executive decision to switch to round pans. Only my 9″ round springform pan was clean at that time, so I prepped her and was ready to go. (Only after the cake was baked did I realize that I had forgotten to put the cake strip on…….. but I think that was just my subconscious objecting to stretching my poor cake strips over the clasp of the springform. 🙂 )

I love this recipe because it is so simple – mix the wet stuff in the saucepan, the dry stuff in a bowl, mix together. AWESOME. This time, like last time, I elected to use a whisk rather than the suggested spatula – much, much smoother (no lumps!). The cake turned out perfectly – much less sunken in the center and the edges were perfectly browned/crisped. I bet I could’ve left it in for a couple more minutes if I’d put the cake strips on but oh well.

After I brushed about half of the syrup on the cake, I put it on a platter and covered the whole thing with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 24 hours. I was too impatient last time to wait, and I think that may have also spoiled the cake for me. Letting the spices and syrup absorb and mature…. in the end was so, so, sooooo worth it.

I really like this cake better than Round 2.0, in texture, appearance, and taste. PROUD of myself for trying again!!! The taste was much closer to a traditional gingerbread but not overly spicy – the spice kind of bit you at the end, just as you were about to swallow… but you could taste it coming almost. I really loved the velvety texture and think this flour mix was an improvement over the last one. If I ever do it again, I will definitely use the cake strips and the round pan, and maybe (just mayyyyybe) decrease the leavening a smidge to see if makes the center less sunken. We shall see.

Mom didn’t give me a quote yet, and Dad hasn’t tasted it… so I shall amend this post tomorrow after they give me feedback.