Spice Up Your Cake Life

Although ginger seems to be prominent in baking during the holidays, I really don’t think this should be a seasonal baking spice! These three cakes, Spiced Yogurt Pound Cake, Blueberry Ginger Pound Cake, and Gingerbread Cake with Maple Whipped Cream, all make use of ginger and other aromatic spices. I can assure you, they taste good all year long (because really, is yummy cake ever seasonal?!). These are some pretty easy, no-fuss recipes. It’s easy to dress these cakes up with glazes or creams, but they’re really lovely on their own. Happy Baking!

Spiced Yogurt Pound Cake & Blueberry Ginger Pound Cake

Spiced Yogurt Pound Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup soft butter (2 sticks)
1 ½ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼  cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 325, grease 10 inch bundt pan.
Beat butter, add sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in yogurt and vanilla.
Stir dry ingredients together and add to mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cool in pan, turn out. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Note: sour cream may be used instead of yogurt. Sugar maybe reduced to 1cup.

Blueberry Ginger Pound Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup soft butter  (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp ground ginger powder
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 ½ cup cranberries or frozen blueberries

The original recipe from Gourmet magazine calls for cranberries (not blueberries), but I didn’t have any on hand so I went with another small, round berry. It was delicious and worked well as a substitute, but would use cranberries for presentation since they seem to “bleed” less colour into the cake than the blueberries. With cranberries, you get a creamy coloured cake with pretty red studs, but the blueberries turned the whole cake slightly purple-ish (definitely not ugly, so I would still recommend it!).

Method:
In a large bowl cream butter. Mix in sugar and eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, soda, salt and ginger.
Add to egg mixture alternating with buttermilk and ending with the flour.
Fold in berries.
Pour batter into 3 quart buttered/floured decorative baking pan.
Bake in middle of preheated oven at 350F for 1 hour and 15-20 minutes.
Let cake cool 10 minutes before moulding.

This plate might have seen a few servings of gingerbread cake...

Gingerbread with Maple Whipped Cream
From Williams-Sonoma, Makes 9 servings

For the cake:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup light or dark molasses
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan or dish and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. If you use a glass baking dish, reduce the oven temperature to 325F.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses. Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat well until fluffy and smooth, yet thick.

Pour the batter your pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temp with a dollop of the maple whipped cream. (Let’s be honest, it tastes pretty darn good cold, too! But you probably won’t have leftovers!)

For the maple whipped cream:

2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Make whipped cream as you usually would, and add the maple syrup just as the cream begins to thicken.

The maple whipped cream might be a little more fall/winter-ish, but it’s easy to substitute other toppings if you prefer. Try blueberries or raspberries with vanilla ice cream, or orange slices in their juice for something more spring/summery.

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