Meyer Lemon Triple Ginger Chocolate Gingerbread

dark-gingerbread-with-lemon-and-chocolateLemon and ginger are natural partners, so I added zest and juice from Meyer lemons, along with freshly grated ginger, candied crystallized ginger and powdered ginger for a triple ginger zing in this dark gingerbread.  Cocoa powder brings a warmth to complement the zesty flavors. The warmth of the cinnamon and the candied ginger make up for the smaller amount of sugar than you’ll find in most recipes.

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Warm the eggs in a bowl of warm water. If you forget to take the butter out early, you can soften it using one of these methods: Fill a glass with hot water, empty it and set it on top of the peeled butter cube, or you can microwave the butter for about 5 seconds.

Ingredients: Makes 8 x 8 square pan. You can also make it in an 9 x9 pan.

1 stick butter

2 eggs

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2/3 cup dark molasses (I used unsulphured organic blackstrap molasses)

1/4 cup candied crystallized ginger

3 Tb finely grated fresh ginger root

2 tsp finely grated Meyer lemon zest (the yellow part of the peel)

1 Tb fresh lemon juice

1 ¾ cups all-purpose unbleached flour

2 Tb cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

½ cup boiling water

1 tsp powdered sugar to sift on top of baked gingerbread

Preheat the oven to 350◦ Spray a 8 x 8 square pan with nonstick spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper. I set the pan on the parchment paper to measure it and cut it with scissors. Butter the parchment after placing it in the pan.

Mince the candied ginger. Peel the ginger root and grate on a fine hand grater. Grate the lemon zest, using the same grater. Squeeze the lemon juice, measuring 1 Tb.

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. I use an electric mixer. Add brown sugar and beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and molasses. Beat candied ginger, grated ginger, lemon juice and zest into the batter.

Sift the flour, cocoa, and spices together, and then add to the batter, stirring slowly just until combined, then scrape the bowl.

Stir boiling water gently into batter.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 -40 minutes at 350◦ until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Place the cake on a metal cooling rack, and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Slide a thin knife around the sides, and then invert the cake on the rack and peel off the parchment paper. Invert on a plate to serve. Sift a spoonful of powdered sugar on top if desired, or serve with whipped cream.

Chocoflan!

This Mexican cake is a combination of my two favorite desserts: chocolate cake and flan.  It’s a pretty cool way to make: first you put cake batter in the pan, and then you pour the flan on top. The cake batter rises to the top and the flan sinks to the bottom and absorbs the delicious cajeta (ka-HEH-ta) caramel sauce. The flan doesn’t have any chocolate in it and the cake appears to be untouched by flan. Magic!

I tried making this 3 times until I got the cake right: a moist and richly chocolate. I adapted Kevin and Nancy Mills’  recipe for Devil’s Food Cake from “Chocolate on the Brain”, substituting Peet’s coffee for some of the water, and adding a bit extra vanilla and cocoa.

Ingredients:

3 Tb cajeta. I use Los Mexicanos brand, which is more syrupy than canned cajeta.

for cake:

½ cup brewed coffee (I used Peet’s)

¼ cup water

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use the best you can find. I use Guittard brand from Berkeley Bowl’s bins)

¾ stick butter, plus about a teaspoon for greasing the pan

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

¾ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

for flan:

3 large eggs

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350◦

Combine flan ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Heat the coffee and water to boiling. Add cocoa and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add ½ the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended.

Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just mixed. Add the rest of the cocoa mixture and beat on low speed again until it’s blended into a batter. Don’t over-beat or it will toughen the batter.

Butter a Bundt pan (use a nonstick pan for best results) using your fingers. Pour the cajeta in and use your fingers to spread it around the bottom and sides.

Using a rubber spatula, scoop cake batter into the pan, and smooth it out.

Pour the flan on top of the cake batter.

Fill a large roasting pan with about 1 ½ inches of warm water. Set inside of oven on a rack on the lower third of the oven.

Place the Bundt pan inside the water bath (Bain de Marie).

Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted all the way through the cake comes out clean. The chocolate cake will rise to the top.

Cool right side up on a rack. Then cover with foil and refrigerate overnight, or at least 12 hours. Serve cold.

Run a butter knife around all of the edges of the Bundt pan, then invert pan on a large plate.

The flan will now be on top, with the cajeta melted into it.