A couple of years ago when I first began my foray into grain-free baking, I made this ginger cake. And it was good. Since the Englishman and I have a tradition of making cakes for each other on our birthdays, I decided to make it again. But then I read Molly Wizenberg’s ginger cake recipe with caramelized pears in her book, A Homemade Life, and decided to create my own version of a ginger tea cake with pears. If you are not really into baking, you can go to your favorite bakery and get it customized, get started now!
Can we talk about Molly Wizenberg for a second? I read her second book, Delancey, on our flight home from Hawaii and as soon as I finished I turned to my husband and declared that I wanted to eat pizza, move to Seattle, and open our own pizzeria. His reaction was a bit of shock and amusement and agreed to the eat pizza part, but wasn’t too sold on opening our own pizzeria. In all seriousness, if you haven’t read Molly’s books yet just do it. They are full of great recipes and will leave you hungry and wanting more. And now I’ll stop fangirling about Molly Wizenberg.
So back to the ginger tea cake. I call it a tea cake because it’s a bit lighter and isn’t overly sweet and would be the perfect thing to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea. And since I am married to someone who is English, I knew he would appreciate the tea cake gesture.
This cake is sweetened with some candied ginger I got in the bulk bins at Sprouts and a couple of tablespoons of honey. The Englishman is a huge molasses fan, so the molasses gives this cake its rich dark color.
Instead of using all-purpose flour I used spelt because I love the nutty taste spelt adds to baked goods. If you haven’t baked with spelt yet I highly recommend it!
For the pears, I poached them instead of caramelizing them in a small sauce pan with whiskey, butter, cinnamon and a touch of sugar and they were still delicious. I think next time I will try the caramelized version Molly has on her blog.
This is by no means a “traditional birthday cake,” but the Englishman still loved it and so will you!
Ginger Tea Cake (adapted from Orangette)
Ingredients for the Cake:
1 cup spelt flour
4 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped (fresh ginger would work too!)
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
For the Pears:
1/4 cup dry Irish Whiskey (I used Red Breast)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a cake pan with parchment paper.
Chop your candied ginger into small pieces and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, add your spelt flour, ginger powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.
Melt your butter and add to a larger mixing bowl. Add your molasses, egg, honey, almond milk and vanilla and mix well. Gently fold in your dry ingredients and continue to mix. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for this, but a little elbow grease and a wooden spoon will also do the trick.
Add your chopped ginger and continue to mix until the ginger pieces are well combined. Pour your cake batter into your pan and place in the oven. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the cake is firm in the center.
While your cake is baking, cut your pears into thin slices and add to a saucepan along with your whiskey, cinnamon, butter, water and sugar. Place over low heat and let the pears simmer until they are nice and soft.
Remove your cake from the oven and cut into slices. Add your poached pears on top.
The pears complemented the cake perfectly and the ginger flavor was spot on. Of course this cake tastes just as good without the pears, and really is the perfect ginger tea cake.
Thanks to Molly for bringing this lovely recipe into my life. I’m thinking that ginger tea cake is going to be a regular thing in my house from now on.