Friday, 31 January 2014

Ginger Quince Upside-down Cake

Let's return to our regular blogging schedule now, shall we? Regular readers may remember that quinces are one of my favourite fruits, so I couldn't resist an opportunity to add them to a cake when I found a couple of huge specimens at the General Store

This particular recipe was inspired by Yossy Arefi's version, and combines some of my other favourite flavours including ginger and molasses. It's especially comforting on a rainy winter day, with a steaming cup of tea, but if quinces aren't in season (or you simply can't find them where you are), they can always be replaced by apples or pears. 
Ginger Quince Upside-down Cake (adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co.)

Poached Quince 
1 large quince (or 2 small/medium quince)
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 lemon
few strands of saffron
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

- Mix all the ingredients (minus quince) in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
- Cut, peel and core the quince, and plop them into the simmering pot. Put a lid over the top, covering about half the pot. 
- Simmer until tender (at least an hour). Leave quinces to cool in the syrup* until ready to use. This step can be done the day before.

Ginger Cake (adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co.)
1 1/2 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup brown sugar
poached quince, cut into wedges

115gm unsalted butter
6 tbsp light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses (or black treacle)
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cups milk

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a high-sided 7" cake tin, and line the bottom with baking paper. 

- Topping: In a saucepan, mix butter and brown sugar, and cook over medium heat for about 1 min. Pour mixture into bottom of cake tin, and cover bottom of the tin with quince slices. Put aside with preparing cake mixture.

- Cake: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add ground ginger, mix for 1 more min. Add eggs one at a time, then pour in molasses.

- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

- Alternately, add dry flour mixture and milk to the batter in first bowl, being careful not to overmix. Pour batter into cake tin and smooth the top.

- Bake for 45 mins or until golden brown (a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean). Let cake cool in tin for about 10 mins, then invert onto a plate and peel away baking paper. 

Enjoy warm, with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream.

*The leftover poaching liquid is delicious as cordial - pour a bit into a glass, and top up with sparkling water.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Christmas Past

Happy New Year, kittens! It was a few weeks ago, but here are some photos from Christmas, when all I did was eat a lot and have marathon sessions of movie-and-TV-show-watching. 
A rather unfortunate gingerbread man fell into my coffee. 

We had homemade gingerbread biscuits for breakfast on Christmas morning, made with the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I like my gingerbread really spicy, so I always add twice as much ginger to the recipe when making.