Thursday, September 9, 2010


Geez, things have been ridiculous around here. Benny is scouting in Seattle and I'm staying with my sister and brother-in-law in San Francisco for a few weeks before I return to Chicago to work and then meet up with Benny in Seattle. Whew!

So it is true that my blog is suffering some from this, BUT if there are any loyal readers who care about reading this, the good news is that once I get to Seattle I'm going to try to start up a little baking business (of sorts). This means tons of recipes once we get settled.

My reaction to Benny's perfect gift!

I have however, been holding back this recipe from my birthday (which was in July!); ginger soaked spongecake with blueberry compote and ginger cream cheese frosting, oh yes. I'd been meaning to try this one out since at least March.

Only a small part of Benny's feast

I'd really been looking forward to this birthday meal for a long time. Benny, bless his little heart, spent a whole day working on my favorite indonesian dinner and I made the cake components in advance and put it together right before we ate it. All went off without a hitch and my family absolutely loved Benny's cooking, of course.

Best indonesian ever. Anyway, here's the ginger blueberry cake recipe. I got it from poires au chocolat and I'd really like to try it again. (She makes the best and most beautiful cakes!) Anyway, totally delicious. I would recommend using a TON of the frosting though. Its SO good and really adds to the flavor of the whole cake. I would also have liked to have done 4 layers instead of two, so I'd recommend that as well.

Recipe Soundtrack: "Walk In The Park" by Beach House. Can't stop singing this song lately.

From Poires au Chocolat

For the cakes (single mix):
250g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
5 large eggs
85g plain flour
100g full-fat greek yogurt
250g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 160C/140C for fan ovens. Grease and fully line the tin. Put the butter and sugar in a mixer and cream till pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. You may need to add a tbsp or two of flour to stop it getting slimy. Beat in the yogurt. Sift the flours over the batter and fold in - when nearly done, add the milk. Spoon into a tin and bake for about 1 hour - 1 hr 20 or until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before spiking the cake all over and pouring some syrup over, letting it sink in as evenly as possible. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.

For the ginger syrup:
200g caster sugar
200 ml water
4 slices of fresh ginger

Take the root of ginger and cut small discs from it about 3 or 4 mm thick. Put the sugar, water and ginger discs into a small sauce pan and heat gently till the sugar is dissolved. Remove to a bowl and leave to infuse and cool.

For the blueberry compote:
500g frozen blueberries
zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp water

Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and over a medium heat bring to the boil and then remove - you don't want it to be mushy, so try not to stir all the time or overcook it. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

For the ginger cream cheese icing:
150g room temperature unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
300g cream cheese
200g mascarpone
1 tsp ground ginger
3 cm fresh root ginger
20 ml water
30g caster sugar

Cut the ginger root up into small pieces then put in a small pan with the water and caster sugar. Wait till the sugar is dissolved them bring to the boil - you want this syrup to have a much more concentrated ginger flavour than the ginger syrup to soak the cakes in. Leave to cool. Beat the butter and icing sugar together - this might be easier in a food processor as it won't come together and will be quite dusty. When the butter is evenly dispersed, add the cream cheese, mascarpone and ground ginger. Beat until smooth and increased in volume. Pour in the concentrated ginger syrup and beat again to incorporate. Put into the fridge to firm slightly.

To assemble:
fresh blueberries (I used four small packets).

Split the layers into the desired number. Sandwich them up on a board covered with four strips of baking parchment with the blueberry compote. Fix this in place with some wooden kebab sticks or similar for dowels - I used four from the top right through to the bottom. Trim as desired. Use a palette knife to cover the cake with a crumb coat - careful with the blueberry compote coming through. Put in the fridge/a cold place for 15 mins or so to firm up slightly. Carefully cover the cake with a thicker layer of icing, again being careful to not let the blueberry come through. Starting from the top, start placing blueberries in the desired pattern, working downwards and then around. They should stay in the icing if pushed in slightly. Remove the baking parchment and make any final touches. Put in a cool place till served (you don't want it too cold - it could be kept in the fridge and then taken out 15 mins or so before eating.

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