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Only in L.A. ginger cake

Posted in Baking

gingerbread-cake-with-lemon-glaze-31I was going to write about my aversion to most American holiday desserts, and on the merits of the fluffy ginger bread I came up with recently, while starting to devise Christmas offerings at work.

I was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, my first day off after six consecutive days of work, on the way to meeting a girlfriend at the Malibu Farm, and composing the post in my head: why too much molasses make for a moist but heavy bread and how the ginger taste gets lost among all the other spices.

Then traffic came to a virtual standstill, unusual at 3 pm, and so did my thoughts. I did what every single soul in LA does when navigating traffic: I simultaneously consulted my iPhone, the Waze app and turned on the AM station blasting traffic updates every 10 minutes. As every Los Angeleno, I have this routine down.

Major collision. Three cars involved. Possible fatality. And, crucial piece of information, the police were going to land a helicopter to medevac the injured in the middle of the Coast Highway. Our late lunch/early dinner was not going to happen. Amidst a flurry of texts, I realized my friend was less than half a mile behind me. I did a u-turn, positioned my car in the center lane and crawled until I spotted her. We both sprinted out of our cars, and started chatting in the middle of the highway, exchanging gifts, much to the bemusement of the drivers stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, who, if nothing else, got some diversion from the mounting anger. Only in LA.

But back to the gingerbread. It is more a ginger cake, which I baked in tiny loaves and finished with a lemon glaze. It is so fluffy, and gingery and delicious, I think it will end up on my Christmas gift list.

freeway signRECIPE – Adapted from a Nancy Silverton’s recipe

9 oz Butter (255 g)
1 C Milk (230 ml)
3 1/4 C Flour (390 g)
1 T + 2 ts Baking Powder
2 T Ground Ginger
4 Eggs
2 1/4 C Brown Sugar (425 g)
2 T Molasses

Juice of one lemon

Powder sugar as needed – about 1/2 cup

  • Melt the butter and milk together in the microwave. Combine all dry ingredients.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed, until thickened.
  • Lower the speed and add the molasses. Add the dry ingredients, alternately with the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dries.
  • Pour the batter in a well-greased 9” cake pan, bundt pan or loaf pan and bake at 350F (180C) for about 45 minutes, or until golden and springing back when touched. Let cool.
  • Make the lemon glaze by heating the strained juice of one lemon with 2 or 3 T of water. Slowly add sifted powder sugar, whisking constantly, until a thick paste forms. Glaze the cooled cake and let set.

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10 Comments

    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I can’t believe I am already thinking about the holidays…

      October 27, 2016
      |Reply
  1. Ok, that sounds so, so good and also easy to make even I could manage it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen molasses in any store near me – what could I use as a substitute? The lemon glaze sold me!

    October 27, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I don’t recall ever seeing molasses in Italy. I would go for the same amount of honey (it’s not as intense but the taste marries well with ginger) or just more brown sugar.

      October 27, 2016
      |Reply
  2. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve been badly stuck in traffic. I do remember hearing about a really major collision (or truck rollover?) last year, somewhere on a highway here, and traffic didn’t move at all for a couple of hours. People were just leaving their cars and walking…
    P.S. The cake sounds delicious

    October 27, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I can’t even imagine living in a place with no traffic. Some sort of paradise, right there.

      October 27, 2016
      |Reply
      • Haha it’s mostly because our buses have separate roads/networks, and when I finish up late at work, there’s no longer much traffic anyway

        October 28, 2016
        |Reply
  3. What an I replace the molasses with?

    October 27, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Lyle Golden Syrup is a good substitution, if you can find it in France (not as intense but similar). Or, as I suggested to Red Contessa, the same amount of honey or brown sugar.

      October 27, 2016
      |Reply

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