Am I the only food blogger out there who looks forward to the start of each month to see what the new themes of the blogging challenges will be? Excitement starts to build when the round-ups begin to appear then by the 1st I'm going round the host blogs looking to see if the announcement post is up yet. I'm even so enthusiast I'll admit to making a list of the themes so I can keep them in mind when I'm dreaming up what to make next. I don't mind if that's sad. This month has a lot of awfully brilliant themes and fingers crossed I can enter them all. I didn't manage it last month but I'm super excited for this month. Almost as much as I was super excited to make and then eat this cake.
This cake has been in my mind since I made these Ginger Bonfire Toffee Crinkles which made me think of bonfire toffee from the first taste. I just knew I had to recreate the flavours in cake form. I wasn't sure which recipe to base it on and evenutally went for a parkin recipe which is from a book which still uses ounces (and hence why my mum likes that particular book so much) and I would feel disloyal to it if I changed it to grams for the sake of this blog so ounces it is. I'm pretty sure I've warned you in the passed that this would happen at some point!
I couldn't have got this cake more perfect if I had tried. The original parkin recipe is so good I am going to try and share it with you this month or next but I would like to think the success of the cake is at least in part down to me and getting things just right. It is very gingery, and very, very treacly with the most gorgeous sticky top and moist, squidy crumb. It isn't a cake that needs icing. Icing would ruin it. It is a cake which needs to be left naked and worshipped in all it's sweet, dark glory. Modesty has no place here.
I left the cake cooling while I went for a wander round town (I almost bought a new cake tin from TK Maxx) and I found myself in a sweet shop. Sadly they didn't have the bonfire lollies I waxed lyrical about in the Crinkles post but I still couldn't resist buying one of the newer version to smash up to go on top of the cake for the pictures. It turn out laying the lolly on one chopping board and hitting it with another isn't very effective. All that happens is one chunk breaks off and shatters into tiny pieces which fly everywhere and you are finding stuck to everything for the rest of the eveing and next morning. A finely serrated knife works better.
If you are wondering why I didn't cut the cake into 10 or 12 pieces it's because the smaller ones are to go with custard while the bigger ones are for on their own. I made this using gluten free flour so my housemate Lauren could have some. Earlier in the day I had suggested we watch Stictly Come Dancing together with this and custard (I did say this cake should be unclothed, but custard doesn't count. Custard, well, it is just good. I'm slightly in love with Ambrosia) but just after 9pm we gave up on Strictly coming on iplayer and we just had cake, custard and tea instead. No regrets from either one of us.
With that in mind, I'm sharing this with one of the aforementioned baking challenges. This months Calendar Cakes has the theme of Puddings. To me, any cake that will go with custard, cream, ice cream or a sauce of some kind is suitable to be called a pudding and hopefully the brains behind the challenge, Rachel from Dollybakes and Laura from Laura Loves Cakes (the host for this month) will agree it is eligible.
If you like baking challenges yourself, I'd be so glad if you could join in my own challenge, the Biscuit Barrel which you can have a peep at here.
Ginger Bonfire Toffee Cake
A moist, sticky cake packed full of ginger and black treacle with the flavour to match bonfire toffee. The long list of ingredients hides how easy the cake is to make.
- 10oz plain flour or gluten free flour (add 1 rounded tsp xanthan gum for GF)
- 5oz soft dark brown sugar
- 2 generous tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 0.5 tsp mixed spice
- 0.25 tsp nutmeg
- 120g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
- 2 balls stem ginger, grated
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 5oz soft margarine
- 7oz black treacle
- 1 tbsp ginger syrup from the jar
- 1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 dsp vingegar
- 0.25 pint milk
1. Grease and line a large traybake tin. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan.2. Sift together the flour, xanthan gum if using, sugar and spices into a large bowl. Over a low heat, melt together the marg, treacle and ginger syrup. Meanwhile distribute the crystallised ginger through the flour.3. Add the fresh and stem ginger to the melted mix and stir into the dry ingredients. Stir in the milk a splash at a time. 4. Working very quickly now, sprinkle over the bicarb and then the vinegar. As quickly but thoroughly as you can, mix everything together to evenly distribute, pour into the prepared tin, level and bake.5. My cake took 40 mins then 10 mins in the oven with it turned off. The time will depend on your oven and size of tin. I'd say check after 30 mins but be very careful with it as this is a cake prone to sinking. A flatter traybake or roasting tin helps. It is worth it, I promise.