Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fresh Ginger Cake with Citrusy Stewed Prunes

When BookClub chose A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, to be honest, I never expected to fall in love with it. To begin with I was happy that it had recipes,but as I started reading it, I found myself drawn to it. The author,also blogger at Orangette takes us on a journey through her life filled with food and family. Its not a simple diary of events,but a record of life through food. We can see how the places,the people and event are stored in mind through the food. I think its a common nature of people -foodies especially- to attach food with memories.

To  be honest, I believe that its the ultimate dream of a blogger to release his/her own cookbook. But it is an art to weave a true story in words that enthrall the reader and also take him to your kitchen. I always suffer from writers block.Long ago, I believed I had the talent in writing,but never cooking. But the recent years have shown otherwise.Even now, when I sit for posting , I may have so many things to tell and blog -small tidbits or something something,but only little comes out in actual writing. So  it was very gutsy of the author to leave her chosen courses of French, anthropology etc to pursue a career in food writing.

Anyways, when I just sifted through the book as soon as I received it,the first recipe that caught my eyes was the fresh ginger cake with caramelized pears.The author vividly records the events of the day or rather night when the family gathered in the kitchen. Then later when I saw the roasted ratatouille my heart went for it. I had all the ingredients for the latter. After being in two minds for a few days- when it comes to good food,its tough to choose- I decided to go for the cake and instead of pears,I served it with stewed prunes from the same book. The zing of ginger with the tang of lemons and prunes -ofcourse you can go with the caramelized pears,but this combo is equally if not more good.

Fresh Ginger Cake:

Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Unsulfured Molasses: 1/4 cup
Sour Cream :1/4 cup (I used thick yogurt)
Unsalted Butter: 4 tbsp (melted & cooled)
Lite Brown Sugar: 1/4 cup firmly packed (I used regular brown sugar)
Egg: 1 or Ener G Egg: 1 (1.5 tsp of Ener G + 2 tbsp of warm water mixed/blended/whisked together)

Fresh Ginger: 2 tsp peeled and grated
Lemon zest: 1/2 tsp

Preparation:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour,soda and salt. Keep aside.

In a bigger bowl,combine molasses,sour cream/yogurt,butter,sugar,egg,ginger and zest.Whisk until smooth.Add the flour mix and stir until combined.Pour the batter into a buttered/lined baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.

You may get a thick batter hence the spreading is neede.In case of using egg replacer, the batter may be extra thicker in which case addition of 1-2 tbsp of water may be needed.I added 2 tbsp of water.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 15-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool the cake in a cake pan for about 5 minutes,then invert onto a rack and cool completely.


Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream,caramelized spears or stewed prunes for a tangy twist.



Stewed Prunes with Citrus and Cinnamon

Pitted Prunes: 1 pound
Orange /lemon : 1 small or combo
Cinnamon Stick: 1

These are the authors estimates in the original recipe. I used around 1/2 cup of prunes or so.I used  lemons rather than oranges.

Slice the citrus fruit thinly along with its peel.Remove the seeds if any. Toss in the sliced citrus,cinnamon stick and prunes in a heavy pan and add water just to cover them. Place the pan on medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook adjusting the heat so that the liquid barely trembles, until the prunes are cooked and citrus is soft and liquid in the pan is reduced to a syrup. Remove the cinnamon stick.Cool slightly and serve or cool and store in sealed containers in the fridge for about 1 week.


Making them a day ahead improves the  taste of prunes.You can als serve them with pancakes or oatmeal.


Top the cakes with the prunes and optional powdered sugar. Serve

Now lets see what the other members have cooked for Molly Wizenberg.Do visit The BookClub. 


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