Wednesday, February 6, 2008

baking on a wet, grey day

I would like to lodge a complaint with the weather gods about the weather we've been having lately.

Wet, grey weather has its place. Said place is on weekends when you don't have to go anywhere and can stay in and bake until the kitchen is filled with good smells and the windows have steamed up. Wet, grey weather is the perfect backdrop for a mug of tea and a wedge of cake, or a scone, or a slice of fresh baked bread with too much butter, and maybe a nap afterwards.

Wet, grey weather does not belong during the week, particularly not at rush hour. The T becomes packed and freakishly tall people drip water all over me and shove their wet-raincoat-clad elbows in my ribs and try to put my eyes out wrestling with recalcitrant umbrellas. On Wednesdays, when I have to drag myself out of bed at an ungodly hour for Contracts, wet, grey weather is an insult.

If the weather gods really wanted me to bake on Wednesday afternoons, couldn't they just have said so? All the clouds and rain and fog and drizzle are really rather heavy-handed.

Maybe they'll be better about it if I leave them an offering. Do weather gods like fresh ginger cake?

Fresh Ginger Cake

The recipe is mostly Joy of Cooking, with some spicing lifted from David Lebowitz. It is possibly the only cake I know of that is good for a head cold.

(Serves somewhere between six and eight mortals. I don't know how hungry weather gods are.)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed down
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey or golden syrup
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger
1 egg

1/4 cup water
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch cake tin. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients. Stir until well-combined. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve with a nice cup of tea.

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