Last month we were having book club at the great baker’s house and I was eyeing up what I thought was an apple cake. Turns out it was a Dutch Ginger Cake made by the host (not Dutch) and it was lovely. She muttered some of the ingredients – almonds, butter, ginger. I don’t know why but I didn’t ask for the recipe. I think there was too much conversation going on at the time.
I hadn’t heard of this cake before, although I have seen something similar packaged as cake fingers or slices in specialty Dutch shops.
Later, I googled it and found this recipe by one of my favourite cooks, Maggie Beer. She is such a delight on television exuding warmth and such enthusiasm.
I thought I had preserved ginger in a jar in the cupboard but it turned out to be stem ginger. I drained it and used half as much as was called for in the recipe. That turned out to be perfect. Whew!
The cake is dense, rich and buttery. When I pressed the raw dough into the tin I thought it was too buttery and it was just a tad but not enough to detract. The ginger and almonds absolutely make this cake and I would definitely make it again.
One more thing. This cake is quite shallow (in height, not personality) which isn’t evident in the photo above so don’t be expecting a tall cake.
I think I've just made the deadline to get this into Sweet New Zealand which, this month, is hosted by the lovely Sue at Couscous & Consciousness.
Dutch Ginger Cake
60g whole almonds
1 ¾ cup standard flour
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup (145g) caster sugar
75g stem ginger, drained and chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan bake).
Grease and line the base of a 22cm shallow round tin. (I used a not-so-shallow cake tin.)
Place the whole almonds in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain then squeeze the skin off. The nuts should slip out easily. Set aside.
Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.
Sift the flour and salt together. Add the sugar then stir in the chopped stem ginger.
Set 1 teaspoon of the beaten egg aside (to brush the cake). Stir in the remainder of the egg into the flour, salt, sugar and ginger mix. Add the butter, mix well into a dough.
Press the dough into the greased tin. Brush the top of the dough with the teaspoon of egg.
Scatter the almonds on the top and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and firm to touch.
Leave to cool in the tin.
You can leave as is (I did) or dust with icing or caster sugar to finish.