I had high hopes for this recipe. David Lebovitz’s blog is on the list of sites I check every day and every dish of his I’ve tried has turned out fantastically. After a couple of weeks with minor issues I was hoping it would be plain sailing and it pretty much was.
I used Lyle’s black treacle instead of molasses. The recipe called for light molasses and I think this is more or less dark but I like its flavour a lot and was confident it would turn out fine. I used the food processor to chop up the ginger. I pulsed it until it was pretty finely chopped but still definately chopped rather than obliterated.
The treacle and sugar mixed together fine in the first stage but the oil wasn’t interested. As soon as you added the water and baking soda it all come together perfectly though.
After adding the flour and eggs and everything the batter was pretty thin. It was a tiny bit disconcerting but hers was the same so we popped it in the oven and crossed our fingers. We needn’t have worried, it was just fine. Mine took a few minutes extra in the oven but I caught it at more or less the perfect time. It came out crazily light in texture, moist, almost too tender to slice.
It was a very easy cake to put together but you wouldn’t know it from eating it. The taste is beautifully complex and layered. The taste develops from bite to bite, first the treacle scent and flavour hits you, then the cloves and spice and finally the ginger which gives a lovely little burn and lingers on the tongue. When I put in the cloves and pepper I did it by eye, throwing them into my grinder. I was little worried I may have overdone it when I sniffed the batter but when it came out of the oven they had mellowed a bit and worked beautifully.
This cake is a wonder. It’s absolutely crammed with flavour. It’s definitely rich though, the kind of desert where you really only need a pretty small slice and I very, very rarely say that. Normally I’m insatiable. My colleagues were unanimous in their approval. In fact, they liked it so much they requested I bring in a second helping the next day. High praise indeed. Thanks again Mr Lebovitz!