Tuesdays With Dorie: Fresh Ginger and Chocolate GingerbreadJanuary 27, 2009
I was excited about this recipe because I’ve never made a gingerbread cake and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten any either. Gingerbread wasn’t around when I was growing up. Well, I’m sure it was around – I’m not so old that I predate gingerbread – but it wasn’t around in our house. Around Christmas, I’ve been known to enjoy a gingerbread latte from Starbucks and a cookie here and there, but that’s the extent of it. But thanks to Heather of Sherry Trifle (check her blog for the recipe), I was about to expand my gingerbread horizons. As an added bonus, this recipe has lots of chocolate in it!
What I did: I cut the recipe in half, and I can’t tell you how many times I almost measured out the full amount of an ingredient. I can do the math, and I can even do the math in my head, but remembering to do the math is sometimes a challenge. I didn’t want to scribble in the book, but I should have come up with a better system. Anyway, I didn’t mess it up as far as I know. I did actually buy fresh ginger, even though I normally use minced ginger in a jar for cooking. As far as changes, I skipped the cloves because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to buy any and I skipped the stem ginger, which was optional anyway. I also used Smart Balance 50/50 blend instead of the butter. This is half butter and half Smart Balance in stick form, and it was my first time using it. I baked this in a muffin pan and got 10 regular sized muffins. The recipe says that a full batch makes 9 servings…1/9 of the full recipe would be a big hunk of cake!
How it went: There was a little prep work to chop the chocolate and ginger and melt the rest of the chocolate, but it was an easy recipe to put together. The only thing that didn’t go so well was that my melted chocolate cooled a lot before I used it and then cooled more when I added it to the batter, so it didn’t fully incorporate; it ended up looking like little flecks of chocolate in the batter. Since they were tiny flecks that would probably melt and since I was also adding chopped chocolate, I didn’t think this would be a problem. The recipe says to bake a 9×9 pan for 40 minutes; since I was using a muffin pan, I set the timer for 15 minutes, checked them, and then baked for another 5 minutes, for a total of 20 minutes baking time. I made the icing the next day and it worked out great; it was thin enough to spread nicely but not so thin that it dripped all over.
How it tasted: Some of the other bakers recommended waiting until the next day to eat this. When I saw their comments, I remembered that I liked the Buttery Jam Cookies better the next day because the ginger seemed to mellow out. One of the muffins stuck a little bit and I nibbled on the part that was left in the pan and I thought holy ginger! And then I decided that waiting a day was a good idea. Fast forwarding to the next day…I think the ginger did mellow after a day. I really liked the chocolate chunks and icing and the ginger added a nice zing. I do think that just powdered ginger would be enough; the fresh ginger made it just a bit to ginger-y for me. My husband thought it was pretty good. He said that the “technical execution” was excellent (am I suddenly an ice skater now?) and that he’d like this “without any ginger at all.” OK, omitting all ginger would be a major modification to a gingerbread recipe!
Would I make this again?: Probably not, since my husband would apparently prefer chocolate chunk cupcakes. But if someone invited me over and said “hey, can you bring some gingerbread?” then sure, I’d make this again. It turned out really nice and I like that it has lots of chocolate. If you’re a ginger fanatic, you could go crazy with this recipe by adding the stem ginger in addition to the fresh and powdered gingers, and then you could top it with ginger-infused whipped cream as Dorie suggests. That, my friends, would be a lot of ginger!