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I survived the cake station. You were probably wondering – perhaps even fretting – so I thought I should tell you that yes, I survived the final station of my first baking school rotation. I was uber prepped. I didn’t sleep all week. My jelly roll got rolled, my black forest cake got tricked out, and my angel food cake was a delight. I mise en placed the crap outta that station. I took organization to the next level. When one of my teammates was struggling with his products, my chef instructor jabbed his finger toward me and yelled, “DON’T YOU HELP HIM!” I was elated. I mean, I felt bad for my teammate, but the mere suggestion that I have a working knowledge of anything at school – which could, in turn, be useful to someone else – made me wanna bring in ‘da noise and possibly ‘da funk.
Now we’re onto gingerbread. Bigger teams, new people to work with. Two weeks to create massive gingerbread displays for charity. For the first time since starting school, I hardly feel like barfing at all. Aside from gingerbread architecture, we’ve had a crash course in all things ginger related: royal icing, fondant, gum paste, marzipan, and sugar work. It’s basically a ginger sweatshop – complete with Christmas carols and snacks. Of course, all of this merriment makes me worry that something very, very bad must be around the corner…
So, to celebrate all things ginger, I made you some cake. Actually, I tested this recipe out in the summer – when I had time to eat and stuff. This cake is best served with lashings of whipped cream or a huge scoop of ice cream – I think all gingerbread is. Honey replaces the molasses of a traditional gingerbread, and it is only lightly spiced. Like all cakes, you don’t want to over bake it – so keep a close eye on it at the end – dry gingerbread is icky. The top of this cake will likely start to brown well before the cake has cooked through, so once the colour is golden, lay a piece of tinfoil overtop of the pan – don’t press it down, just lay it over top – and it will prevent the cake from over-browning.
Also, my class was debriefed last week. That might sound like a panty raid, but it’s not. It’s a chance to find out your marks and where you stand in the class. You’ll be happy to know that I’m not a total doofus and that my “enthusiasm is appreciated.” Who knew nausea and anxiety could be so easily confused with gaiety?
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Honey Gingerbread - print and bake
Yields a 9 x 13 baking pan.
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan. I like to line my pan with parchment paper as well.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of your stand mixer, on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the honey, and beat on medium speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add the egg, and beat on medium speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl.
Add one third of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and mix until well combined. Add another third of the flour mixture, mixing until combined. Add the rest of the buttermilk, mix until well combined. Add the last of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl after each addition.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with your spatula. Bake for about 35 minutes – until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold, topped with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
NOTE: if you find the top of the cake is browning too deeply before the cake has finished baking, cover the top gently with a piece of tinfoil – don’t allow it to touch the surface of the cake, and don’t press it around the edges of the pan. Just set it gently on top of the cake pan to prevent the top of the cake from burning.