Sticky Situation Date & Ginger Cake
I associate ginger cake with a former workplace, where I ate a lot of it! Drizzled with lemon icing and dense in flavour, half spicy and peppery my memories of the ginger cake in question are mixed. Whilst the cake was good, I always found myself eating it in times of adversity. Difficult decisions, office politics, community impact, internal impact and so the gingerness went on. So when the past pays me a visit, I’m reminded of the sticky situations still occurring there.
Eating ginger cake became a coping mechanism, as with most of my emotional traumas, I eat to recover. I know this is not always a healthy response, but it’s my response. I find it therapeutically soul cleansing and yes – it was that bad! Turbulent, bad days, dark clouds, thunder, not my kind of weather at all…
Actions Speak louder than words…
Once my visitor had left, there was only one thing to do. I took my finger of ginger and held it up in the direction of my former workplace (which, as it happens is not too far away, you can literally see the place peeking over my garden fence) and I set about baking, baking a ginger cake to end all ginger cakes, something satisfyingly dense and syrupy bittersweet.
I wanted to devour, lay to rest my mixed spice and my mixed feelings and put this sticky situation out of my head, and so I did…
Survival of the fittest
Above all else, self-preservation tactics and healthy sustainable working environments are some of the key elements to a happy life! In order to survive any stormy office politics be them past or present, remember this: A ginger cake shared is a problem halved! Make this – you won’t be disappointed…
- For the cake
- 200g stoned dates finely chopped
- 300ml milk
- 100g butter
- 140g ginger preserve
- 140g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 large ripe pears (Conference)
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 eggs beaten
- For the syrup
- 85g light muscovado sugar
- 50ml water
- 3 tbsp ginger syrup
- 2 pieces of stem ginger diced
- For finishing
- Clotted cream, cream or ice cream to serve
- Put the chopped dates in a pan with the milk, butter, ginger preserve, dark muscovado and spices.
- Heat gently until the butter has melted and the mixture starts to bubble - do not boil!
- Stir well and set aside to cool ( I often make this part of the recipe the night before)
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas. Filling a deep oven tray with water (The cake tin should still sit on the wire rack inside the oven tray, aiming to have the cake tin submerged by around 2 cm, this will help the cake batter bake in the middle) If you don't do this step you can just bake for a little longer.
- Line the base of a buttered 23cm springform tin with baking parchment.
- Peel and chop the pears into large elegant slices - set aside
- Mix the cooled date mixture with the eggs, bicarb and slowly stir the flour in, creating a rich glossy cake batter
- Pour into the cake tin and place the pears in a star like a pattern on top.
- Bake for 60 mins, until a skewer inserted into the centre, comes out with just sticky crumbs – the cake may still look a little wet around the pears.
- While the cake is baking, make the ginger syrup.
- Tip the light muscovado sugar into a pan with 50ml water and dissolve over a low heat until syrupy.
- Stir in the ginger syrup and diced ginger pieces and set aside.
- When the cake is ready, spoon over half the syrup
- Leave the cake to cool before serving with extra syrup on the side.