You can eat it, you can drink it; it’s wonderful in sweet dishes and equally delicious in savoury dishes. What am I talking about? Why, only the wonderful, juicy rhizome that turns food into something special – ginger.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been in love with ginger. My father used to make bottles and bottles of fiery ginger beer and he could never understand how my sister and I could gulp down litres of the fiery stuff from a tender age – we simply loved it. In fact, one batch was left too long and I think we got slightly tipsy from it.
My grandmother used to make wonderful, sticky gingerbread loaves and biscuits every week. We used to cut thick slabs of gingerbread and spread it with a thick layer of cold butter and top it with cheese – it was heaven. I’ve yet to taste a gingerbread like my granny used to make. Sadly she took the recipe to her grave.
There is an old Indian proverb that says that “everything good is found in ginger,” and it’s so true, as it is used in foods, drinks and medicines. My granny used to make us ginger tea when we were feeling nauseous, or serve hot milk sweetened with honey with grated ginger.
Ginger has wonderful properties: it’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. You can even add ginger to baths and foot soaks.
Because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial action, it may help keep skin clear and free of blemishes. It may also help fight skin discolouration and aging, both when consumed and topically applied.
Ginger may even help your sex life. The famous Arab physician Avicenna wrote that ginger “increases lustful yearnings”, and ginger appears in the ‘Kama Sutra’. Rat studies confirm that ginger may help increase testosterone.
But enough of that; let’s make some sweet stuff with ginger.
Sam Linsell, top South African food stylist and ‘Drizzle and Dip’ blogger, has done it again with beer, this time creating a triple ginger and stout cake with a stout butterscotch sauce.
“If you are a lover of all things ginger in baked goodies like I am, then this one is for you,” says Sam.
“I have used three types of ginger, which each add their own ‘gingery’ flavour dimension as they act as independent components. They also do not overwhelm, so if you are a real ginger-head, you can add more,” said Sam.
The cake itself is not overly sweet, with the stout bringing a smidge of desired bitterness to the flavour. A rich amber caramel sauce is made with the remainder of the beer.
For those who would like to try it at home, see the recipe below.
Triple Ginger and Stout Cake
Pre heat the oven to 180C and line a 20 to 22cm square, or round cake tin with baking paper.
If you are making this in advance, heat the sauce up a little before serving.
Makes a one layer cake
Ingredients for the Cake:
¾ cup Castle Milk Stout Chocolate Infused
120g of butter
½ cup (110g) brown treacle sugar or muscovado
¼ cup golden syrup such as Lyles
1 free-range egg
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved ginger in syrup
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 ¾ cups (230g) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Stout butterscotch sauce:
1x 340ml bottle Castle Milk Stout Chocolate Infused
2 tablespoon butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 – 2 teaspoon/s sea salt flakes
To make the cake, place the stout and butter in a small pan and bring it to boiling point. Cook briefly and stir until the butter has dissolved. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool a little.
Add the stout/ butter mix to a large bowl with the sugar and golden syrup and whisk until it’s well combined.
Add the egg and whisk again.
Add all the spices and whisk.
Sift the flour and baking soda in by hand and whisk briefly until smooth (it will be fairly runny).
Decant this into a lined 20cm cake tin (square or round), tap the filled pan to remove and bubbles and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake is done when it’s springy to the touch and when a sharp knife pierced into the thickest part comes out clean
While the cake is baking, make your butterscotch sauce.
The quantities make a little more than you need for the cake but store the rest in a sterilized jar and use with other desserts.
Bring the Castle Milk Stout Chocolate Infused and butter to the boil in a medium sized pan and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes until it has reduced by more than half. Add the sugar and continue to let this cook, stirring frequently until it reaches 110C/225F on a sugar thermometer. This will take around 15 minutes.
When it has reached temperature, add the cream while stirring constantly. Carry on cooking this until it thickens more. Once it has reached 105C on the thermometer it is ready. It will also thicken more as it cools.
Let the cake cool to room temperature and then pour the warm sauce over to serve. Keep any extra on the side to serve.