Ginger and Chocolate Bundt

Welcome to the first recipe of my 101 ways with fresh ginger series.

With piles and piles of ginger root burning a hole in my freezer, I wanted to create a tasty cake for the second Gin Club gathering, which I was hosting this weekend. Gin Club is nothing more than a few friends getting together to try a few different gins with a variety of mixers and garnishes…and a few snacks, but it’s really taken a hold on us and we love it!

Without wanting to get too experimental, I decided on a classic ginger and chocolate combination, and of course, a bundt. As there were only five of us, I kept it small using my 6-cup Anniversary tin from Nordic Ware. Feel free to adapt the amount of ginger to suit your tastes. I wanted it to taste gingery, but not overwhelmingly so.

If you don’t have a 6-cup, simply double the quantities for a full size bundt tin.

Ingredients

  • 225g soft dark brown sugar
  • 115g margarine or butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 125ml natural greek yoghurt
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled and grated. I used a thumb-sized piece

For the topping

  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • double cream
  • crystallised ginger to garnish

Method

  • Start by preheating the oven to 160 (fan) and preparing the tin. I use cake release spray to thoroughly coat the inside.
  • Cream the butter/marge with the dark brown sugar. It will get paler and fluffy in texture – should take a few minutes on high speed.
  • Next it’s egg time. Turn your mixer down to its slowest speed and them one at a time, until they’re mixed in but don’t mix too much at this stage. It might look a bit curdled, but fret ye not. It’ll come together.
  • Stop. Flour time. Mix it with the cocoa powder, bicarb and salt. Add some to the mixture, with half of the yoghurt. Mix slowly, add a bit more flour, the rest of the yoghurt, finishing with the flour. Don’t mix too much just yet.
  • Melt the chocolate using your preferred method – I do mine in a metal bowl, over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. It won’t take long and don’t over-heat it or it’ll go grainy. With the mixer on slow, pour in the chocolate. Give it a whiz for a few seconds so everything is mixed in.
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  • And now it’s the ginger. Mine was frozen, which I found made it so much easier to peel and grate. It breaks up the fibres of the ginger, meaning it gets evenly distributed in the cake. So that’s my little tip! Stir it through the batter with a spatula.
  • Pop it into the tin, and onto the middle shelf of the oven.
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  • Bake for around 50 minutes, check it with a skewer to see if it’s cooked. Probably give it another 10 minutes. That should be it done. You can still leave it in a little longer if you want a bit more a of a crunchy crust on the outside. Don’t worry about over-baking it – bundts are tough little cookies. Well, cakes, not cookies but you know what I mean. they’re pretty resilient!
  • Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, longer if you like. Then turn out onto a rack to cool.
  • Whilst the cake is cooling (and making the kitchen smell amazing) make the topping. Melt the other 50g dark chocolate in the bowl over the simmering water again. When it’s melted, take it off the heat and drizzle in the cream, stirring constantly. Keep going until it reaches the consistency you want for your topping. When the cake is cold, pour the topping over. I wanted it quite thick but runny enough to slide down the side of the cake. This also meant I could lick the remaining dribbles from the plate underneath!
  • Finally garnish with little pieces of crystallised ginger over the top.
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Dark chocolate and fresh ginger bundt

And how did it go down with the Gin Club girls? Really well! And I don’t think it was just the gin talking.
I was really pleased with the texture, the softness, the chocolatey goodness…and most of all the warm gingery flavour.

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Satsuma and Pomegranate Bundt

Why is it so hard to think of something different? It’s nigh on impossible to be original when it comes to baking, I find. Almost everything I can think of has been done before. Other people have experimented and discovered flavours that work together, textures that are right for certain tins and bakes, what happens when you add a bit of this or swap a bit of that…and if something hasn’t been done before, it could well be for a good reason.

That’s what happened when I started researching this cake. After being given some bargain pomegranates (after my friend Emma had an incident in the Morrisons reduced veg section, not dissimilar to my ginger incident) I wanted to bake a cake that had pomegranate seeds in it. The thing is, there aren’t many cakes on the internet that have the seeds actually baked in the cake. They’re usually used as a garnish or made into a syrup and drizzled over the top.

I wanted little speckles of bright red in the cake itself. Little bursts of pomegranetty excitement. But, I did think that baking them could make the seeds disappear and just be small dots of disappoinment instead. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided that nothing was to be gained by being cautious and I was going to chuck them in anyway. I also wanted a citrus flavour with it…keeping it seasonal I decided to go with satsuma, for something a bit different to the usual orange.

satsuma2This recipe is for a 10-12 cup bundt tin. I used the NordicWare star tin, which is one of my favourites, but this should work well with most shapes except really intricate ones. For a 6-cup bundt tin simply halve the quantities!

Use the brightest, pinkest pomegranate you can find. They can be a bit of a bugger to get the seeds out and it can take ages. I don’t find the cheffy tip of bashing works, I just quarter it and gently peel off the thin, papery skins and pop seeds out. If you want to cheat and buy the pre-packed seeds because you can’t be bothered faffing with de-seeding your own, I won’t tell anyone.

Thanks as ever to Dollybakes for her basic bundt recipe, which can be found on her smashing blog. If you’re new to bundt baking, I strongly suggest you read her starter tips and get stuck in. Everyone I know who’s caught the bundt bug follows her recipes with success.

Ingredients

  • 225g butter or margarine (I used Stork)
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 250ml full fat greek yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon satsuma juice
  • zest of 4 satsumas (use more or less depending on your preference, but I like strong flavours)
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds (about half a fruit)
    For the icing
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • Satsuma juice
  • Pomegranate seeds and satsuma zest (to decorate – optional)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160°C(fan) (320°F) and prepare your chosen tin by greasing or using cake release spray.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until it’s pale and fluffy. In a mixer, with a hand mixer, or with a spoon if you’re bonkers. This will take a good few minutes – if you’re not sure it’s ready, beat a bit longer.
  • Gradually add the eggs, whilst mixing slowly. SLOWLY. If the mixture is starting to curdle a bit, add a sprinkle of the flour.
  • Mix together the flour, bicarb and salt, and add half to the mixture. Keep it slow.
  • Mix together yoghurt, zest, satsuma juice and orange extract. Add this to the mixture. Keep mixing slowly.
  • Now add the rest of the flour. Sloooowly mix until it’s all incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure it’s all mixed in. You should now have an orangey, voluminous bowl of luscious cake mixture. Be patient, you can lick the bowl in a minute.
  • By hand, fold in the pomegranate seeds.

    Fold in the seeds gently.

    Fold in the seeds gently.

  • Now dollop the mixture into your prepared tin. Make sure you’ve got it into all the crooks and nannies…give a little wiggle if necessary. Fill the tin about 3/4 full, not all the way to the top.
  • Pop into the oven (middle shelf) and bake for around an hour and 15 minutes, might be a bit less or a bit longer depending on your oven. Check after an hour, but don’t open the door before then .
  • Now you may lick the bowl. And the beaters/spoons.
  • When done (no mix on a skewer, and the cake should be coming away from the sides of the tin), take out the cake and leave it in the tin to cool for as long as your patience will let you – at least 20 minutes though. If you turn it out too soon you’ll risk a tin-sticking incident.
  • Once the cake is cold you can decorate it as you choose. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar for the most simple effect. I chose to make a satsuma icing, by mixing juice into the icing sugar until it’s thick and drizzling over the top. Garnish with seeds and zest.

satsuma3How was it? Well, my pomegranate wasn’t as pink as I’d have liked, but there were definitely little jewels of colour in the cake, which was what I was after. Did it taste very pomegranattey? No. Satsumay? Yes! Yummy? Definitely. Would I bake it again? Oooh yes. And I’ve come to realise that it’s ok not to be totally original. It isn’t the be all and end all. But just because something hasn’t been done by lots of people, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, and giving things a whirl can pay off. Be brave…with cake anyway.

This cake was created for the Manchester North Clandestine Cake Club event – Telly Addicts. You can read all about our event on the Clandestine Cake Club website. I organise the Manchester North group and if you’d like to find out more and join us, please get in touch. It’s a fabulous way to share cake, meet people and experiment with your baking. And it’s free!

101 Ways With Fresh Ginger

If there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s the reduced sections at the supermarket. I also can’t resist gin, but let’s stick to the story! The other day I was stocking up on veg for the obligatory January health kick – I’d got a recipe for a carrot and cabbage asian style salad (from a friend, but I think it’s a River Cottage recipe) and what do I spy in the cheap section…fresh ginger! Not just one root. Not a couple of roots. No. It was over half a kilo. For 35p. I needed a ‘thumb size piece’ for my recipe but the bargain-grabber in me just couldn’t resist this huge bag of gingery fabulousness. There were actually TWO bags of the stuff, but I thought buying both would be ridiculous (bah!!). I also got 6 red peppers for 45p! So off I trot to the till, chuffed to bits with my bargains, but not a flipping clue what to do with it all.

ginger-rootTruth be told, I’m not a massive ginger lover. A hint, yes. In cakes, definitely. Ginger beer….urgh no! So quite what possessed me, I’m not really sure.

So, what does someone who doesn’t really like ginger do with all that fresh ginger root? Freeze it, for starters. Give some away to some ginger-loving friends. And then do what I do best…research. A quick search of tinternet gave me a few ideas. Obviously cake would be a good option – dark chocolate and ginger is a taste sensation. Biscuits – citrus and ginger would be lovely. Soup – classic carrot and ginger. Stir fry and asian style salads.

If you’ve got any ideas about what I can do with all my ginger, please do let me know! But as I experiment with it all, I will write up my recipes, and if you ever find a huge bag of ginger with a yellow sticker on at your local supermarket and want to know what to do with it, perhaps I’ll be able to give you a bit of inspiration!

And maybe, just maybe, at the end of all that ginger I might start to like the stuff. I wonder if I can put it in gin….