01 November 2007

Chocolate Gingerbread (with a Kick)

I've been surfing the blogosphere for some time now, trolling for new and exciting recipes to give a go. One thing that I've noticed is that quite a few British and Australian folks have recipes that call for "treacle". Treacle, it turns out, is a bit like our molasses in The States, only it is much darker, with a more bitter and almost smoky taste to it. So imagine how excited I was to find both treacle and golden syrup at a lovely little place here in town.

To break in both the black treacle and golden syrup, I decided on a cake from Nigella Lawson, a gorgeous looking dense chocolate gingerbread cake. But I decided to give it a try with a bit of chili powder in it, as I've seen in a few other recipes online (plus I think Vosges was a bit of an inspiration, as they have a chocolate/cinnamon/chile bar that is quite tasty). When I made the cake I also added a bit more ginger, because the chocolate seemed soooo strong and frankly, I was craving gingerbread more than chocolate when I made this.

And the outcome? Chocolate + chili + gingerbread = the best cake, literally, that I've ever eaten. Ever. The cake is rich and soft and spicy, and oh so smoky. Nigella wasn't kidding when she called this a "chocolate cake for adults". So many things going on, and I doubt the kiddies would appreciate the heat and treacle/ginger going on. The one thing I might (just might) change would be the icing. It's almost overkill, and doesn't set up too well (instead it just seems to soak into the cake). A plain old dripply white icing would be perfect, I think.

This is the kind of cake that keeps well - the slice I ate today (after sitting for a day) was just to-die for. Equally chocolatey and sweet while spicy and aromatic from the gingerbread, with a warming heat that hits you at the back of the throat after you devour your slice. Wow. You've gotta try this.

Spicy Chocolate Gingerbread


For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. white sugar
3/4 c. golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
3/4 c. black treacle (or molasses)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger (I added an extra 1/2 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder (this is totally optional!)
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. warm water
2 eggs
1 c. milk
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
6 oz. package or 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:
2 c. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/4 c. ginger ale

Preheat the oven to 325F and tear off a big piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of a roasting pan of approximately 12 x 8 x 2 inches deep.

In a decent-sized saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugars, golden syrup, treacle or molasses, cloves, cinnamon and ground ginger. In a cup dissolve the baking soda in the water. Take the saucepan off the heat and beat in the eggs, milk and soda in its water. Stir in the flour and cocoa and beat with a wooden spoon to mix.

Fold in the chocolate chips, pour into the lined pan and bake for about 45 minutes until risen and firm. It will be slightly damp underneath the set top and that's the way you want it.Remove to a wire rack and let cool in the pan. Once cool, get on with the frosting.

Sift the confectioners' sugar. In a heavy-based saucepan heat the butter, cocoa and ginger ale. Once the butter's melted, whisk in the confectioners' sugar. Lift the chocolate gingerbread out of the pan and unwrap the paper. Pour over the frosting just to cover the top and cut into fat slabs when set.

Makes about 12 slabs.


Deadly Vanilla Sunshine said...

This is one of the best things I've ever made! Thanks for posting :)

Ashley Brooke said...

This sounds so good, can't wait to try it!!