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Ginger Cake

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 2
Categories: Cakes / Desserts

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Back in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the trade in ginger was as lovely as that in pepper, the sensual powers attributed to it certainly enhanced its sales. But it does seem curious that the spice most widely used in Chinese cookery should have come to be the archetypical Christmas flavor in the West. What's Christmas, after all, without gingersnaps or a gingerbread house. Whatever the reasons for ginger's worldwide popularity, its wake up flavor is indomitable. Slice this loaf very thin and spread it with sweet creamery butter for a quick, refreshing pick me up. For a more leisurely repast, try the striped gingerbread stack described below. The dark and light bands of cream cheese and ledvar, or prune butter, are striking, as is the subtle blend of flavors that results. LARGE 3/4 cup milk, whole or skim, 2 tbsp heavy cream, 3 tbsp canola oil (or other light oil), 1 cup unbleached flour, 3/4 cup semolina flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tbsp instant coffee, 1-1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1-1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 - 1 tsp salt, 1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast, 1 cup milk, whole or skim, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 medium egg, 2 cup unbleached flour, 1-1/2 cups semolina flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tbsp instant coffee, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground cloves, 1 - 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp active dry yeast Pour the milk into your bread machine baking pan and add the cream and oil (and egg if doing the large loaf) then add the dry ingredients and yeast. Bake this loaf on your machine's quick cycle. For a striped gingerbread stack, spectacular both to behold and to taste, remove all crusts but the top crust once the loaf has cooled. Lay the loaf on it's side and cut it into slices about 1/2 inch thick. The bread can be sliced into even thinner pieces, which are nice for simply buttered tea sandwiches, but here you'll be stacking the layers, and you don't want the edifice to be too precarious. Set the top crust aside and spread the other lsices alternately with cream cheese and ledvar (prune butter) You will need 3 - 4 oz of cream cheese, doublt that if you'd like a swirl of it whipped to crown the loaf, and a 12 oz can or jar of prune filling Apple butter, which also goes well with this loaf can be substituted for the ledvar, but only if its consistency if very firm. Smooth the filling all the way out to the edges of the slices. It's best to spread each slice while it's flat on your working surface and then add it to the stack, as if you were buttering an order of toast, rather than placing each slice on the stack and then spreading it with filling, as in assembling a layer cake. Don't worry about a litte filling oozing over the edge of the bread. Stack the layers like pancakes, run a knife around the perimeter of the stack to remove any excess filling and to bring out the striped pattern and put the upper crust back in place. Add a swirled topknot of whipped cream cheese as the stack's crowning glory. If the cream cheese is difficult to whip, it can be softened with about 1 tbsp of cream or milk. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or dates if desired.

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