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Chocolate and Ginger Loaf Cake

Chocolate and Ginger Loaf Cake

Sweet and warmly spiced, Chocolate and Ginger Loaf Cake

After a few days of not baking whilst packing, moving and unpacking, I’m back at it. Almost the first thing I did in my new place was bake some bread because it made me feel at home. Need to get used to a different oven – I think this one is a little cooler than my old one so I may invest in an oven thermometer.

After baking a couple of loaves of awesome bread, I decided to further ingratiate myself with my new landlord/housemate by making cake! You can’t go far wrong with chocolate cake, and he’s a big lover of ginger so I combined the two and came up with this rather delicious tea-time number. It’s surprisingly light and you could easily leave off the chocolate topping if you wanted. But who doesn’t want more chocolate?!

Chocolate and Ginger Loaf Cake

For the cake:

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 175g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa, sifted
  • half tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 60g ginger beer

Heat your oven to 170C and grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and syrup until fluffy and much paler in colour. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add a bit of these dry ingredients to your butter and sugar mixture and beat in, then beat in one egg followed by a bit more dry ingredients, then the second egg and the last of the dry ingredients. Stir in the ginger and ginger beer (don’t worry if it looks a bit sloppy or like it’s almost curdled) then pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. It’s done when firm to the touch – if you test with a skewer it’s absolutely fine (a good thing, in fact) if there is still just a hint of gunge left on it. Leave to cool in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate topping:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tsp crystallised ginger, finely chopped

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, being careful that no water or steam gets in the bowl as this will make your chocolate go grainy. Once melted add the butter and stir until melted and combined with the chocolate. Stir in the crystallised ginger until well dispersed. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool for a little while; you want it to be thickly pourable.

Place your cake on a serving plate and pour the chocolate topping over, ensuring it covers right to the edges and hopefully drips alluringly down the sides. Leave to set for as long as you can bear before cutting into slices to serve.

Chocolate and Ginger Cake

Chocolate and Ginger Loaf Cake

Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

Fresh and cool Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

Well the weather is doing what it’s supposed to, which means it’s barbeque season; I went to a pretty awesome one yesterday. Obviously at a barbeque the meat is king, but I still can’t help myself taking along something sweet for dessert. I decided it should be something with fresh, bright flavours that would wake up the taste-buds after the carnivorous overload (not that I’m complaining about eating ALL the meat!) so I settled on this zingy lime and ginger cheesecake. The sharp lime cuts through the richness of the cream and cream cheese, whilst the crunch of the ginger biscuit base compliments the cool, smooth topping.

Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

For the base:

  • 250g ginger nut biscuits
  • 100g butter, melted

Line the base of a 9″ spring form pan with greaseproof paper. Crush the biscuits, either by whizzing them up in a food processor or (the fun way!) by putting them in a clean sandwich bag and bashing them to bits with a rolling pin or other heavy kitchen implement; you want a fine breadcrumb texture when you’re done. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter, mixing well. Tip in to the prepared pan and press down with a spatula or back of a spoon until you have an even layer, slightly higher at the edges than the centre. Place in the fridge to chill while you get on with the rest.

For the topping:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 300g full fat cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 limes

In a large bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks – I prefer to do this by hand as its very easy to over beat cream with an electric whisk and you almost end up with butter if you go too far. Add the cream cheese and mix into the cream with a spatula until well incorporated. Finely grate the zest from the limes and reserve about a teaspoon which you’ll use to scatter over the top of the finished cheesecake. Add the rest of the zest and the juice of the limes to the cream and cheese, add the icing sugar and mix it all in well.  You may need to use the whisk again just to bring back to soft peak stage.

Take the base out of the fridge and pour the topping into the tin, smoothing it down with a spatula or palatte knife. Scatter the remaining lime zest over the top and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, and for at least 2 hours. When it’s time for dessert, release from the spring form tin, using a palatte knife to run round the edge if necessary. Carefully loosen from the base and transfer to a serving plate.

Lime and Ginger Cheesecake slice

Crunchy ginger biscuit base topped with creamy, citrusy lime cheesecake