July 21, 2004

wait until tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 20

This morning, as has been often the case, I baked some cakes for breakfast/brunch. It was this recipe that I used this time; fresh ginger muffins!

I love ginger, or I can almost say that I am addicted to it - both in cooking and baking (and even in fragrance). Japanese and Chinese dishes employ ginger a lot, and I usually like them very much; as for sweets, I like ginger snap cookies, ginger cake, pain d'epices, ginger shortbread (has anyone tried Duchy Originals' ginger biscuits?), ginger ice cream, Chai, just to name a few.
I still recall the very first time when I encountered "sweetened ginger" in a cookbook. I must have been 9 or 10 years old and I was absorbed in a new cookbook that my mom had just bought (which is now in my possession). In that cookbook, there was a recipe for crystallized ginger, and my first reaction was: ugh, ginger in sugar? no way....
Years later, I came to know about a lot more ginger sweets, and like them all. To be specific, I prefer fresh ginger to ginger powder, and crystallized ginger falls into somewhere in the middle.

So, ginger muffins. Since I have an already long list of things that I want to make, just another ordinary ginger cake wouldn't come up to be a priority. But this one was using fresh ginger instead of dried powder, and it is a lot! Even better, it uses lemon zest as well... ginger and lemon, both are among my most favorite ingredients.

The recipe was a kind of complicated - or so I thought, at least so for a muffin recipe. It might probably have been because I grated a whole ginger instead of using a food processor (I don't have one). Making the batter wasn't a big deal, but since I made it in full rather than reducing everything in half like I would usually do, I ended up having a LOT of batter in a bowl.
As I might have mentioned before, I don't have a muffin pan at hand, I used small cake pans instead of paper cups. So mine weren't really muffins any more - so I should call them ginger cakes.

The cakes taken out of oven looked good. I let them cool for a while and cut a slice for myself. As I sunk my teeth into it, the strong ginger flavor... didn't come out. Nor I tasted lemon much, either. What? C'mon, look how much ginger and lemon I used, I asked myself... but the cake didn't have much taste of ginger, unfortunately. They tasted fairly good, but not as gingery as I had anticipated. Too bad, those were good but I won't probably make this again, I thought.

Well, that wasn't the end of the story. Later in the afternoon I had another slice and noticed that it tasted better; it often happens that certain kinds of cakes taste better after let stand overnight or so - and this cake might be one of them, I suspected.
The following day, the cakes showed their real ability; the flavor of ginger was now ever so strong and the cake was rightly moist... the difference was eminent. I don't know if they were at their best overnight, though; they were all gone before they are given a chance to prove that they might actually taste better in two days!


Santos said...

i love ginger as well--the origins products, the duchy biscuits, everything!
i haven't made these ginger cakes, but i do have the cookbook that the recipe came from, "the breakfast book" by marion cunningham. i've had it forever, and it's one of the best cookbooks i own. i think you might like it, too.

chika said...

Hi Santos,
I have taken a look at part of that book at Amazon and it looked really interesting... what would you recommend from the book?
As to ginger, I baked something with ginger again, and there are more to come! Never tired of it... at least I'm not.

Santos said...

hi chika!

the breakfast book was one of the first "adult" cookbooks i bought, and i remembered it had nice transitional recipes that went from easy to moderate amounts of difficulty.

the first recipe i remember doing was this crazy milk pie thingy that was basically a little piece of pie crust dough you pour milk on; the milk is absorbed by the dough as it bakes and you get a little tart with a bit of milky "custard" on top. it's also where i learned how make jam, pancakes, and granola (hey, maybe you can make a granola to rival la brea bakery's!).

i know there's a whole section of yeast breads that i was fascinated with, but i can't remember any offhand (outside of the ginger one you made). i'll have to dig out my copy and post a few recipes for you to try!

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

I just love ginger too and I'm going to try to make this ginger cake as well. I'll let you know how it turns out. =)

Su-Lin said...

Yum! Add me to the list of ginger lovers!

chika said...

Hi there,

Santos - sounds like a lovely book! I am very very very interested in that milk pies you made; would they be like Maids of Honour? Looking forward to seeing how you have rediscovered good old recipes!

Reid - Yeah, I'd love to see how yours would turn out! I forgot to mention but I used Meyer lemons and which are a sweeter kind, and didn't work enough to make my cakes *truly* lemony...

Su-Lin - Pleased to know there're people like me who love ginger!