Ottolenghi Cookbooks are a Staple
Like most writers have troves of books, most chefs have a vast collection of cookbooks. In order to learn, you must study from those who’ve gone before you. And, while my collection is impressive, there are few that sit on the counter-top. Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Jerusalem cookbooks are among the few that I regularly refer to, and so when I heard that Yotam and Helen Go were releasing a dessert book, I knew I had to have it. The pictures contained on their pages are gorgeous, and more importantly the recipes are clear and easy to follow. I was excited to try this gingerbread cake from Sweet and I think that you’ll enjoy the recipe in your own kitchen.
This cake is beautiful warm, but you may also want to enjoy it cold with a warm beverage – just keep in mind that a cooler cake will feel much more dense, so you won’t need as much as if you were to serve it warm.
You may also make this cake up to three days in advance and store it in an airtight container at room temperature.
This is also a great cake for a bundt pan if you have one.
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup plus 1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons fresh orange zest
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups just boiled water
- ½ cup finely chopped crystallized or candied ginger
- 5 Pink Lady apples
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ vanilla pod sliced open lengthwise
- 2 strips of peel of one large lemon
- 3½ tablespoons brandy
- 3½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups crème fraîche
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a high-sided 9-inch round (or 8-inch square) spring form pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang at the sides to help you remove the cake from the pan Iater on.
- Place the molasses, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, and orange zest in a medium bowl and whisk together by hand, or using a handheld electric mixer, until combined.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt together in a separate larger bowl, then pour in the molasses mixture. Stir to combine and add the just boiled water, whisking immediately to combine.
- Stir in the crystallized ginger, then pour the mixture into the cake pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring the cake to a serving platter.
- While the cake is cooling, peel and core the apples and cut into 2/3-inch slices.
- Place a large non-stick saute pan over high heat and once hot add about half of the apples.
- Sear for 2 minutes, turning regularly until they are a nice golden color.
- Remove from the pan, wipe it clean and repeat with the remaining apples.
- Add these to the first batch and return the pan to medium heat.
- Place the butter in the pan and, once melted, add the sugar, vanilla pod and lemon peel.
- Return the apples to the pan, stir well to coat, and cook for 5 minutes, until the apples are soft but still holding their shape.
- Pour in the brandy, lemon juice and salt and reduce for 3 minutes over medium-high heat, until the sauce is thick but not caramelized.
- Spoon some of the warmed apples over each portion of cake and add a spoonful of crème fraîche.