Posts Tagged ‘spices’

spicy warm cake for a rainy season

it’s been raining every afternoon and evenings, and most nights too.
though my country does not have the four seasons, we experience some chilly nights when it rains extensively. yesterday was one of those days.
when you are feeling chilled and needing some warmth…why not whip up some nice spicy cake.

i decided to do a gingerbread cake. it has been something that i have been longing to do, just that every time i pushed it away for some other recipe i have tagged or bookmarked. i am glad i haven’t pushed it away this time….cuz this cake is a long time coming. I should have made it long ago!

since Christmas is near (so fast?…hmmmm…i wish it was nearer), this cake will be a good start for the season.  yes, the world now is in a huge economic chaos, i hope things get better. depression may be ahead…i suppose it is always appropriate to find some small dimension in your life to bring things to a positive cheer.  for me, it is baking.

this cake was so aromatic, moist and gingery….very appropriate to keep your moods up! it’s a good sport since it keeps well and stays moist for long. go on, bring out your spatulas and mixing bowl!

Gingerbread Cakes with cream+nutmeg spice

Gingerbread & Chocolate Cake with whipped cream+sprinkled nutmeg spice

Gingerbread & Chocolate Cake (adapted from Baking from my home to yours, Dorie Greenspan)

For the Cake
2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
280g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (i added this in)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (i substituted with mixed spice)
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g packed, light brown sugar
3 large eggs
125ml molasses (or black treacle)
6 oz bittersweet chocolate – 2 ounces melted, 4 ounces finely chopped (which i have used the short cut by using chocolate chips instead 😉 )
250ml buttermilk (i used yogurt milk, yummiee…)
for the icing (optional)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon strong coffee
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (it’s a good idea to sift this, I found)
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C, rack in center.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices together and set aside. If you’re using a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment, set on medium, and cream the butter and brown sugar together until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add in eggs in one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. To which point, the mixture will look a bit curdled, but no worries on that. Add the molasses and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce speed to low and the melted chocolate and the sugared ginger.  Then add the dry ingredients in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk, and in my case, yogurt milk.  Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter.  Fold in the chocolate pieces and pour the batter into a 9-inch square baking tray.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. I had mine for 1 hour in the oven before its finally cooked. Test the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick/skewer into the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is ready! Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then take it out of the pan and cool to room temperature before icing (if desired).

a tea addiction night

earl grey & zen

oddly, i was pretty obsessed tonight to get 3 things experimented – masala chai (Indian spiced tea), Zen cha (green tea), and beautifully scented bergamot tea….Earl Grey. I love all these three teas, depending on mood and time. Usually I have green tea in the afternoons, at work (…a good detox tea, esp all that heavy food at lunch ;p ), Earl Grey at night on occasions…and a rare treat if I’m in the right eating place, Masala Chai. This is only available to specific pure Indian food joints here in KL. Sweet, pungent (to me is fragrantly intoxicating!) and little hint of spiciness – just to get your mood right! I had Masala Chai 2 days ago, and I haven’t been able to put it aside since then…haha….

this time, my mind have been buzzing with a fusion of East meets West – I thought of marrying my two favourite tea together…a marble of Zen Cha & Earl Grey in cake-form. Yes, i wondered how these two would pair together, especially Earl has a very strong floral spicy note, whereas Zen is subtlely nutty yet calm. I wondered which overpowered the other, and who’s the winner!

tic-toc, tic-toc…i went buzzing up and down my kitchen, first I was rummaging for all the spices as indicated in some recipes I found on the internet to make my first Masala Chai in my life! I counted the needed spices (1 cinnamon stick, 7 cardomon pods, 4 cloves, 1 star anise, a medium pinch of fennel, 2 thin slices of ginger, and 4 peppercorns) and placed them on a plate. After that, I got side tracked…..I went on to prepare the ingredients for my dreamy cake.

got round to measuring the flour, sugar, green tea, poppy seeds, chocolate chips, walnuts, milk, and steeping a cup of Earl Grey. A little of this and that, mix, beat, fold. I made a couple of just Earl Grey, just Green Tea and a few of marbled fusion of the both!

The oven was producing a very pleasant smell…which reminded me that I’m hungry, and forsaken dinner. I went on to continue with boiling my Masala Chai, I use the portion of 2/3 water, 1/3 milk. This will be a good dinner substitute! I was already heady thinking of my cup of masala tea with tea-infused cakeletts. (Truth be told, I actually wanted to make Masala cake too, but guess have to save it for another time since the day is running out!) In 5 – 8 mins later, I have a very interesting blend of Masala Chai ready for enjoyment……

masala chai

Voila! My cakes are ready….. I loved the subtle hint of the Earl Grey cake, not too overpowering and really moist. The Zen-cha cake had a pleasant green hue with speckles of poppy seeds, choc chips (white), giving a nice crunch here and there. Overall, it turned out pleasantly mild & comforting. Not too sweet, very moist. So which overpowered the other?…. My take is Zen, but Earl might win the next round (probably steeping more than 1 teabag).

A good marriage here, I would say. What’s your call?

Ingredients to Green Tea Poppyseed cake:

4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
3 oz brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz all-purpose flour/ cake flour
2 oz ground almonds (meal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp green tea powder
1 tsp green tea leaves (superfine-ground)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
100ml milk
1-2 oz white chocolate chips

Ingredients to Earl Grey & Walnut cake:

4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
3 oz brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz all-purpose flour/ cake flour
2 oz ground almonds (meal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml Earl Grey tea (1 or 2 teabags steeped in hot water)
20ml milk
1 oz white/dark chocolate chips
2 oz walnuts, loosely crushed

Both combined together yields +- 20 cakelettes.