I hope you had a good Christmas and happy almost New Year! I’m still in Vancouver and loving the time off. This week I thought I’d update you on what I’ve been doing and I’ll also share a recipe for a ginger cake that I made for Christmas dinner. Last year, I made a similar cake which was a gingerbread with a lemon sauce. This new recipe far surpasses last year’s, in my opinion, because I love the deep molasses flavour and it’s very gingery. I served it with a sticky ginger rum syrup of my own creation — delicious!
But first, a quick update on last week’s post about my birthday. On the 23rd I was busy rolling out dough for sugar cookies when there was a knock on the door; it was my friend David. This was very unexpected as I don’t think he’s ever been to my house. A few minutes later more friends arrived and I then realized my parents had thrown me a surprise birthday party with sneaky scheming by Lucy and my friend, Hayley! We had a relaxed evening with food and cake (my 5th cake!) and it was perfect. For privacy reasons I won’t include photos of friends, but I’ll just say that I feel very loved and it was the best present to spend time with the people I miss so much.
Of course, I’ve been baking (not as much as last year though). My mom made fruit cake (featured in the picture below on the right), my dad made shortbread; I made sour cream sugar cookies (find recipe here), and mince pies and butter tarts. I really like the sugar cookies because they are the soft kind and have a hint of almond.
We’ve been lucky enough to have some beautiful sunny days for dog walks on the dikes, and we had a white Christmas!
I’ve eaten far too much! Christmas Eve my family decorates the tree, we have a big snacky buffet dinner, and we play a board game and then watch the cartoon Grinch before bed.
I made parmesan stars (amazing) and my brother made sausage rolls (Lucy’s recipe); my mom made the onion chutney that goes in them since we couldn’t find any in Canada.
Here’s what the dinner table looked like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I also went on my traditional boxing day adventure with friends. We went out for Vietnamese food and I had the best coffee of my life!
Triple Ginger Cake
Adapted from BBCgoodfood
250g. unsalted butter
250g. dark brown sugar
250g. dark molasses or treacle
300 ml. milk
255g. plain flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. freeze dried ginger (if you have it)
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (or more if you omit the freeze dried)
Optional garnish: chopped crystallized ginger
Butter and line a 23cm square baking tin. Preheat the oven to 160C.
Put the butter, sugar, and molasses into a saucepan and heat gently until dissolved. Stir in the milk. Leave the mixture to cool until lukewarm and then beat in the eggs.
Mix the gingers and dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then make a well in the centre. Pour the melted mix into the well then gradually draw the dry mix into the wet with a wooden spoon, until you have a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour until risen and firm to the touch. No peaking or the cake will sink! Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
I served in squares with warm ginger syrup and vanilla ice cream.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup rum
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 min. Whisk in a pinch of cornstarch to thicken if needed. Serve warm. Keeps up to one week wrapped in clingfilm.
Happy New Year and I’ll be back in 2018!