Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Summer Cake to Beat the Heat

Every summer, I volunteer to be a "teacher buddy:" I get to hang out with three Mexican teachers who come to AR for a teacher training program.  Last night, I had them over for dinner, and I made them this cake:

It was delicious.  It's a riff off of my favorite ginger muffins from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book. I love this cookbook--it has great recipes (my favorite oatmeal pancakes are also in this book).  If you're looking for a new cookbook, get this one--it's all about breakfast!

Anyway, here's what you're wanting: the cake recipe. :)

Fresh Ginger Cake with Peaches and Whipped Cream
(from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham)

  • big knob of fresh ginger, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • whipped cream
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • fresh peaches
  • chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8" or 9" cake pans (I used 9")

Put the ginger into a food processor/food chopper (or chop finely by hand) and chop, chop, chop.  You should have about 1/4 cup of ginger bits, but don't fret if you have too much (I'm of the opinion that a little more is better).  Put into a small saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar and cook until the sugar melts and the mixture is heated, stirring constantly.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, mix in the lemon zest.

In a small bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

Beat the butter and the rest of the sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Add the buttermilk.  Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth (but not too much).  Add the lemon ginger mixture.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake until done (about 20-25 minutes, depending on your pan).  Cool in pans briefly, then invert onto racks until completely cooled.

Meanwhile, peel and chop about three peaches.  Reserve one half to slice for the top.

Once cooled, beat the whipped cream with sugar and vanilla (to taste).  Spoon a bit on the bottom layer, then pile the chopped peaches on top.  Use the rest of the whipped cream to frost the cake, then garnish with the sliced peach half and chopped crystallized ginger.

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