This wonderful recipe was given to me by Rosalind Batty, who worked with me at Bluebird and later at Claridge's.
This cake includes all three types of ginger: fresh, ground and candied. I garnish it with crystallised rose petals, as they contrast well with the darkness of the cake. It also makes a delicious dessert, teamed with spiced poached pears and honey ice-cream. The cake works well if cooked in a shallow baking tray, cut into squares and finished with butter cream. Alternatively you could make little individual cakes, as in the picture. For these I use flexible silicone baking moulds.
Makes 1 large cake or 12 individual ones
- 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 60g soft dark brown sugar
- 110g black treacle
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 110g self-raising flour, sifted
- A pinch of salt
- 1tbs ground ginger
- 1½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Chopped candied ginger in syrup, to decorate
For the crystallised rose petals
- 1 large, open pink rose
- 1 egg white
- 100g caster sugar
For the syrup
- 100g caster sugar
- A piece of fresh root ginger, weighing about 5g
- 100ml water
For the butter cream
- 100g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 100g softened unsalted butter
- Ground ginger, to taste
Start by crystallising the rose petals, as they take a while to dry. Remove the petals from the rose. Using a small, fine paintbrush, brush both sides of each petal carefully and evenly with the egg white. Toss the petals one at a time in the caster sugar until completely covered. Gently lift out the petals and leave to dry on a tray lined with baking parchment, until they're firm enough to pick up. A warm place is best, near a radiator or on top of the stove if the oven is on.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a Swiss roll tin and line it with baking parchment, or grease 12 individual moulds. Cream the butter, dark brown sugar and treacle together until fluffy and slightly paler in colour. Add the egg a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift the flour, salt, spices and bicarbonate of soda and fold them in well.
While the cake is baking, put all the ingredients for the syrup in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 4-5 minutes, until it forms a light syrup. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the top. Leave to cool in the tin. For the butter cream, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add ground ginger to taste.
Turn the cake out of the tin on to a board and, using a palette knife, spread evenly with the butter cream. Comb the top with a comb scraper to make wavy lines. Cut into neat squares and decorate with chopped candied ginger, a dusting of icing sugar and the crystallised rose petals. If you have made the cake in individual moulds, simply pipe the butter cream into the wells on the top of the cakes, using a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle, then finished with a dusting of icing sugar and the rose petals.
- Make the rose petals the day before, if you have time; they will dry better and be more stable.
- If you cannot get a comb scraper from a cake decorating specialist, you should be able to find one at a hardware store, in the plaster and paint area. They are used for texturing walls.
Taken from Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts, by Claire Clark. Photography by Jean Cazal