Tag Archives: bentong ginger

Zucchini Chocolate Spice Bread

12 Feb

I love zucchini bread – bold in its simplicity and perfectly comforting. Its a good bread, one that is easily frozen and surprisingly easy and quick to make. I thought of this bread when I saw some luscious zucchini at O’Gourmet last week, and thought that it might be a nice idea to try a new twist. I found Bentong ginger powder at PastryPro – organic, sun-dried and so deep and complex in scent its almost overwhelming. I wanted to use it in a bread, and with my beautiful zucchini to hand, I set about inventing a new, enticing version of my beloved old standard.

I have to admit, this new zucchini bread is pretty spectacular. It is damp, lush, complex and dark. I really decided to go all out in this bread … I used dark and light brown sugar, freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon and the amazing Bentong ginger, a touch of ground hazelnuts, beautiful Tasmanian Leatherwood honey, and both white and bittersweet chocolate. I realise, its full on! I thought to myself, when I put the loaves in the oven … either this is going to be delicious, or its going to taste like a muddled mess!

Luckily, its a wonderful, complicated, intriguing bread. Its very moist and it will get better over a few days – the flavours compounding and playing off one another. It freezes well, and its wonderful lightly toasted, as a snack, breakfast or tea time treat. Plus, what a wonderful way to get people to eat their zucchini and love it too!

I know that this seems a load of ingredients to bring together. If you cant find ground hazelnuts, or dont want to make them, substitute ground almonds, or even just plain flour. Chop and change as you wish, its a very forgiving recipe. Try though to include the honey and the spices … they really deepen and improve the bread immensely. And who doesnt like chocolate? Hehe … though if you want to be more healthy, try a few seeds or dried fruit instead. And do try and wait at least 10 minutes after you remove the bread from the hot oven – its very delicate at first, and needs a moment to firm up! Says she, who never waits ­čśë

Makes 2 loaves

  • 2 medium-large zucchini (approximately 2 – 3 cups grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 scant cup sugar – half dark brown, half light brown
  • 1 heaping tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, beans scraped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger (I used Bentong ginger, which is very flavourful – you may want to up the amount of ginger – may be 1 – 2 tsp – ┬ádepending on the quality of your source)
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 2 cups chocolate chips, drops or chopped (I used half bittersweet, half white, best quality chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Line two loaf pans with baking paper. I usually cut out a large piece of baking paper, centre the loaf pan, and cut in at a 90 degree angle on all four corners. I can then fold in the paper, and have a bit of nice overhang. Set aside the pans.

Set a sieve over a small bowl, and grate the zucchini into the sieve. I use the very fine grater, but depending on the texture youre going for, you might want to grate it slightly more coarsely. Press the zucchini into the sieve to encourage as much water out as possible (you will probably get about 1 cup worth). Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (and reserve both the zucchini and its liquid!).

In a large bowl, place the eggs, vegetable oil, sugars, honey and vanilla. Whisk together well until everything is well combined and integrated. Set aside.

In a small bowl (or large measuring jug, which is what I use) combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine completely. Set aside for a moment.

Measure out about 1/2 cup of zucchini water.

Stir the flour and zucchini water into the sugar/oil mixture, in thirds, mixing gently but thoroughly. You might not use all of the zucchini water – just add a splash each time to really help the flour to integrate into the sugar/oil.

Add all the zucchini and mix well, and finally add the chocolate and mix well.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf tins.

of Zucchini Bread!Bake, switching the tins in the oven half way through if youre concerned about hot spots, for about 45 minutes – 1 hour. A cake tester inserted into the loaf will either come up covered in chocolate (in which case, wipe down and try again!) or with scant crumbs attached.

Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes or so before devouring. This freezes exceedingly well, and will stay good in the fridge for a week or more (though its always finished up by the first day or so in my house!).

Enjoy!

 

O’Gourmet Food Hall Trifecta of Ginger Cake

4 Feb

Everyone loves ginger cake. I certainly havent met a ginger cake that I didnt like, even those slightly stodgy, heavy ones. Its the magical melding of ginger and dark sugar, of molasses and heat that creates layers of flavour. Ginger cake is complex. Its a full frontal experience because the spice perks up the taste buds, while the richness and sweetness tease the palette. I have always loved ginger cake, but when I got a whiff of the Bentong ginger available at O’Gourmet Food Hall, I knew I wanted to try my hand at remaking it anew.

Bentong ginger is considered the best in the world. It is fresh, crisp, stark and sharply spicy, but it has undertones of sweetness. O’Gourmet Food Hall has organic, locally grown and incredibly fresh Bentong ginger. The scent assails you as soon as you peel the root. The firmness of the ginger, the clarity of the flesh, and the taste. Absolutely gorgeous.

I decided I wanted to make a ginger cake with this particular varietal, but I wanted to add more depth to it if possible. I found some ginger curd which has a more muted caramel deep throbbing hum of ginger to it, and some beautiful fresh ground ginger powder which adds a musky beat. A trifecta of ginger in one cake. Would it be too much? Turns out, if youre careful and you add the fresh ginger in stages, you can find a balance of taste that is close on perfect. Add to that the dark tones of brown sugar and molasses, fresh organic eggs, and a frosting of cream cheese and fresh vanilla bean. Sublime. Happy making. And amazingly easy.

Do note that if you want a very simple ginger cake, you could just halve the recipe and leave out the frosting. You will then have what is more like a tea cake, still stunningly gingery but a little more sedate and less full on. If you cant find ginger curd, leave it out, but do try and find the freshest, crispest, firmest ginger you can, and use organic ingredients as much as possible.

For a two layer cake (serving 12 people… or more!)

  • 3 cups organic pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup treacle (or corn syrup or honey if you dont have treacle)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp ginger curd (optional but very good)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter, melted
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans or 2 tbsp (or more) vanilla essence
  • 1 – 2 tbsp cream (if needed)

Preheat your oven to 175C (350F), and butter two cake tins, and line with baking paper.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and ginger powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, treacle, ginger curd and eggs. Set aside while you melt the butter into the hot water in a small saucepan, over medium heat.

Whisk the melted butter and water into the sugar/molasses mixture, and stir in the fresh ginger. It really depends on how strong your ginger is – so I always add 1/2 cup first, and then taste. Add more until you get a peppery almost overwhelmingly ginger taste. Remember that the heat of the oven will mute some of that sting.

Stir the flour mixture into the large bowl, and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins, and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a cake tester is inserted and comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.

Remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool, in the pan, for about 5 – 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, add the cream cheese to a stand mixer bowl, and beat for a few minutes until it attains a softened consistency. Add the icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat. I always like to taste the frosting at each tablespoon of sugar, because I dislike icing that is too sweet. Split the vanilla pods and scrape out the beans and add to the frosting. Beat for a few seconds more until the vanilla is totally integrated. Add a tablespoon of cream (or milk) if the mixture is too stiff.

A Trifecta of Ginger CakeCentre a cake round on a serving plate, and ice the top. Place the second cake round on top, and ice the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until half an hour before serving.

Enjoy!