Sticky Ginger Cake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream #CakeSliceBakers
In this book, bold flavors are front and center--while decorations are kept minimal. This is..ahem...a change for me. I do love to decorate. But I reeled myself in for this Sticky Ginger Cake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream. I can't promise I won't go decorating-mad in the future, but at least this month the flavors are king.
The cakes in this book are considerably "foodie-er" than cakes I have baked before. In last year's The European Cake Cookbook, there were many cakes that I'd never tried--but they were someone's "classics" even if I wasn't familiar with them.
These cakes are more stylized.
More suited to moody atmospheric photography.
I really debated about which cake to pick out of our choices this month. I took a risk and chose this one--not being sure whether my family would enjoy it too. I love ginger--I eat candied ginger like...er...candy. It's too strong for my family's tastes, though.
This recipe calls for 1/4 cup of ground ginger in the cake, in addition to several tablespoons of stem ginger syrup. My first thought was, "Sweet Georgia Brown! That's a lot of ginger!" But surprisingly, it was very balanced. My husband and 2 out of three kids loved it! And the one naysayer doesn't like most food anyway, so I'll count it as a slam dunk!
Stem ginger, I guess, is kind of a British thing. I've heard Mary Berry mention it multiple times on Great British Bake Off. I couldn't find it in southern New Mexico, though, so I made some using this recipe. It was a fun skill to learn, but after tasting the batter, I don't think it is necessary. Ebuehi says that you can use corn syrup if you can't find stem ginger. I sampled the batter before the addition of the dry ingredients, and couldn't even taste the ginger syrup. And with a full quarter cup of ground ginger, making syrup really isn't worth the trouble.
Unless you just really want some stem ginger.
The real star in this cake is the caramelized white chocolate buttercream. It was delicious. And it worked very well with the ginger without competing.
It takes a while to make, but it was worth the effort. Make sure to use real white chocolate with "30-35% cocoa solids." I bought two bars, but didn't have quite enough. So I used some Ghiradelli white chips--which, fun fact--don't actually have any cocoa solids in them. After 40 minutes of baking/stirring every 10 minutes, the chips didn't liquefy like the bars. I just blitzed the crumbly mix with a couple tablespoons of cream, and that fixed it. Thanks, Karen for the tip!
A hefty pinch of flaky sea salt and it was "eat-by-itself-with-a-spoon" good. Very similar to actual caramel, but not sticky. Weird. But delicious.
I can't wait to try more recipes! I'm excited to try new flavor combinations and textures.
Give this Sticky Ginger Cake a try--it just might become an unexpected favorite ;)
Sticky Ginger Cake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
from The New Way to Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi
Caramelized White Chocolate:
2 1/2 c quality white chocolate, chopped roughly
pinch of flaky sea salt (I used a couple pinches)
Sticky Ginger Cake:
1/4 c + 2 T butter
2 T molasses
3/4 c corn syrup
3 T syrup from stem ginger (or just use more corn syrup)
2 tsp vanilla
1 c dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar + 1 tsp molasses)
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1 c milk
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c softened butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 T milk (as needed)
reserved caramelized white chocolate
1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the chopped white chocolate on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven, stir it, and spread it out evenly with an offset spatula. Put it back in the oven and bake for an hour--stirring and re-spreading every 10 minutes until it is a deep caramel color. It may look clumpy and awful about halfway through, but keep stirring and spreading until it becomes liquid. Once it is caramelized, but 2/3 in one bowl and 1/3 in another. Sprinkle both with sea salt.
2. Heat oven to 350. Line an 8 x 12 inch pan (I used a 9x13) with parchment paper--leaving several inches of parchment overhang.
3. Melt the butter, corn syrup, molasses, stem ginger syrup or extra corn syrup, and vanilla in a saucepan. Once melted, take off the heat and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. In a small bowl, mix the eggs and milk, and add to the slightly cooled melted butter mixture. Whisk the flour, baking soda and spices together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, and briefly beat mixture until it is fully incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes--until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before removing.
4. Beat the butter until pale and creamy--about 3 minutes in a stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating for 5 more minutes, or until fluffy and thick. Take the bowl with 2/3 of your caramelized white chocolate, and pour into the buttercream. ***This melted my buttercream, but I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes, re-beat it in the mixer, and it was perfect. If your chocolate happens to have hardened, put it back in the oven briefly to melt, then add to buttercream.** Add milk as needed if buttercream is too thick.
5. Frost the cake, and drizzle with the bowl containing the final third of caramelized white chocolate. Drizzle randomly over the cake.
Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The New Way To Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes! Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details. The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.
It is a new year and a new book - The New Way To Cake - and our choices for January 2020 were ~ Blood Orange & Olive Oil Upside Down Cake