The caramel fudge topping oozing down the side has made it very difficult to get to the end of this post without running to cut another slice of cake [wipes crumbs off the keyboard, licks fingers].
Alright. Now let’s talk cake. This ginger fudge cake took me by surprise and confounded me a little. But where’s the fun in baking if something weird and wonderful didn’t happen every now and then to keep you on your toes, hey? Let’s see if we can solve the Mystery of the Amazing Fudge Cake together.
It’s another old-fashioned cake from the Nyamutin Farm Cookbook, which is an absolute treasure-trove of recipes contributed by darling country housewives in the late 1960s. There are no glossy pictures accompanying the recipes and the detail in the method is quite scant, so it’s a little bit of a guessing game when figuring out what the finished product is supposed to look like. In my mind I pictured a glorious tall, buttery fudge ginger cake, with a light whipped frosting.
Simply wait until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan before removing from the oven, then let it cool, the directions said. As it sat in the pan, just chilling out, it shrank faster that a pair of dangly bits in the Arctic Ocean. My heart sank as fast as the volume and width of the cake.
I debated whether I did something terribly wrong. Perhaps it was supposed to be a sponge cake that deflated terribly by mistake? After all, the method calls for beating egg whites to firm peaks then folding that into the batter. But the ingredients are certainly not suitable for a sponge with a large quantity of oil, brown sugar and water and no butter.
Instead, I think the incredible shrinking act is part of the magic of the cake. My theory is that whipped egg whites folded in provide texture to the cake, preventing it from becoming a pancake. In the heat of the oven, the water turns into steam pockets, helping with the volume. But as the cake cools, steam turns back to water and the cake collapses onto itself, leaving behind a denser texture. If there are any Scooby Sleuths out there with alternative ideas let me know what you think.
Despite my reservations about the cake, I pushed on and made the topping. As I stirred brown sugar, condensed milk, golden syrup and a little butter in the saucepan I realised what I was about to pour onto the cake. Yes, my lovelies, this is a cake with a thick caramel fudge sauce on top. Pouring the glorious goods on the surface and smoothing it around with a spatula felt so wrong. This wasn’t part of the plan! But lordy, it’s so right.
If you’re a sweet tooth or an avid sticky date pudding fan, then this is the cake for you. The ginger flavour is quite subtle in the cake itself, taking a back seat to the brown sugar which gives it more of a caramel taste. A thin layer of decadent caramel sauce finishes the cake nicely. In retrospect, some Maldon salt flakes sprinkled on top would help cut through the sweetness and add a modern touch.
Although the cake stands at a modest 2cm tall each square packs quite the sugar punch, making these bite sized pieces perfect. Heed no attention to the giant slab of cake pictured above, which was merely for artistic purposes. I totally did not eat it. Serve with a palate cleansing, roof-of-mouth unsticking cup of tea, not that I’m speaking from experience …
GINGER FUDGE CAKE
Serves at least 8 people.
You Will Need
190g Self raising flour
210g Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Vegetable oil
2/3 cup Water
3 Eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 teaspoons Ground Ginger
30g. Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Golden Syrup
4 tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk
Few drops of Vanilla Extract
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375F). Grease and line a deep 12 inch x 9 inch roasting tray (30cm x 22cm).
Whisk egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and oil. Beat in the egg yolks, salt and ginger until well combined. With the beaters still going, add in 1/3 of the flour then 1/3 of the water. Continue to alternate the flour and water until it is all mixed into the batter. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites with a spatula.
Bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and slightly shrinking away from the sides of tin. Turn onto cake cooler and leave until cold. The cake will keep shrinking away from the pan during this stage.
Place ingredients in a saucepan. Melt the sugar and then gentle bring the mixture to the boil on low heat. Boil for 2 mintues, stirring constantly. Remove from heat immediately and add a few drops of vanilla extract. Pour the topping onto the cooled cake and quickly spread to the sides with a spatula. Allow the topping to cool before serving the cake.