I have this habit that whenever I’m abroad I like to visit local supermarkets. I equally like to have my guests have the same experience, so I often take people grocery shopping whenever someone visits me in Sweden. It’s my favourite way to get inspiration for the meals we are going to share, and it’s a good opportunity for them to get in touch with foods that might attract them but that I may not have at home. This is how I ended up making gingerbread cake recently.
Tempted by a small loaf of supermarket gingerbread cake, one of my guests picked it up and put it in our basket. “Are you sure? I can bake you some”, I said. Yeah, he replied, let’s buy this one, I don’t want you to have to bake for us.
You gotta be kidding me. I love baking for my guests.
So we ended up buying the supermarket gingerbread for the sake of tasting it, and then my friend said that I could also bake my own, so we could have it twice. Deal, I said. So this is how I ended up making a typical Advent cake at the end of February. My guests want gingerbread, so gingerbread it is. I don’t mind baking with no occasion as much as I don’t mind revamping the Christmas spirit. Win-win, really.Gingerbread cake:
- 60 g butter
- 50 g brown sugar
- 30 g white sugar
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 egg
- 60 ml syrup (or liquid honey)
- 130 g flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp cardamom
- 3/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 120 ml milk
Preheat the oven to 180° C. In one bowl combine the two sugars and the lemon zest, and give it a stir with a rubber spatula so that the lemon zest gets nicely rubbed into the sugar. Then add the butter (which needs to be at room temperature). I have used salted butter so I didn’t add any salt to the ingredients; if using unsalted butter, include 1/3 tsp salt in the list. With the help of a hand mixer cream butter and sugar. When combined, add the egg and keep mixing, then add the syrup and mix that in as well. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and the spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves). Pour half of this flour mixture into the other bowl and mix at low speed. When combined, add the milk and mix that in. Then add the second half of the dry mixture and mix until combined. Transfer batter into a cake pan and bake at 180° C for 35 minutes.
Since we had to ride this Christmas train, the first time I baked it I decided to use a star-shaped cake pan. This proved a bad idea, as I was not aware that this cake is so soft and I took it out of the pan too early. Oops…I was running short on syrup so I decided that I couldn’t risk it a second time and I went for a more classic square pan for the cake that actually ended up on the blog. Phew. I also ran out of lemon zest in the second cake, but can you tell from the pictures? 😀