A beautifully golden loaf cake that is moist from the brown sugar and the ginger syrup that is infused while the cake is hot. Sweet and spicy, it's simply delectable! It lasts for days and can be frozen.
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This is a simple, almost plain vanilla cake if you leave the ginger syrup out.
But really, why on earth would you? The ginger syrup is just perfect.
It's poured on the cake while still hot, and seeps inside, leaving a super moist crumb and trickles of sweet and spicy goodness.
For the brown sugar cake:
- Brown sugar: use light or dark brown sugar. The difference is the depth of flavor and color.
- Unsalted butter.
- All-purpose flour.
- Salt: I like to use kosher salt when baking. But regular table salt works just fine.
- Baking powder: is used as a leavener to help the cake rise, so make sure it isn't expired.
- Eggs: fresh, large.
- Milk: Whole, low-fat, and almond milk, they all work.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
For the ginger syrup:
- Fresh ginger.
- Honey: any flavor works. I use traditional clover honey.
How to make this cake
- It's a simple butter cake where after creaming butter and sugar, the eggs are added one at a time.
- Then the dry ingredients are added, alternating with the milk.
- After it is mixed well and no lumps remain, the batter is poured into the prepared loaf pan.
Pouring the ginger syrup
This part is easy, giving this loaf cake a lot of extra moisture and a sharp but sweet ginger flavor.
I do it while the cake is still hot and in the pan.
- Poking: I use a brochette stick (regular bamboo sticks) or my cake thermometer (image above). It is thick enough to make a good hole without tearing the cake surface. Poke the whole surface for better results.
- Add syrup: you can use a jar and pour it (image below, left). It will flow to the sides. You can bring it back to the top with a spoon and redistribute it again, or aid yourself with a spoon/spatula while slowly pouring the syrup so that most of it remains in the center of the cake. Or you can use a brush and patiently apply the syrup to the whole surface (image below, right).
I do it both ways. First, I pour half the syrup and let it flow to the sides, then brush the rest to ensure the whole surface is covered in this sticky and fantastic ginger honey syrup.
This recipe is very old-fashioned, makes just one loaf, and has that slight caramel tone but is a very plain flavor that allows for add-ons like nuts, dried fruits, or chopped chocolate to be added.
You can also glaze it after adding the syrup, letting it cool, and removing it from the pan. I suggest a simple powdered sugar glaze with some ginger syrup as the liquid part.
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For the brown sugar loaf cake:
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup milk, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Ginger Honey syrup:
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup water
- ½ oz fresh, peeled ginger, chopped or sliced
For the brown sugar loaf cake:
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Butter a medium loaf pan, 8x4-inches or similar.
- In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add to the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with milk and vanilla in two additions.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. It will become shiny on top.
- Transfer to rack, poke surface of loaf with a wooden brochette skewer, cake thermometer or similar, and pour ½ of the honey syrup on top of hot cake. Brush the remaining half so that all top surface is well covered.
- Let cool before removing from pan. If the sides are stuck from the syrup, run a smooth bladed knife around the edges so that it unmolds without breaking.
For the Ginger Honey Syrup:
- Put three ingredients in a small saucepan, cover and let boil for about 5 minutes. It depends a lot on how thick you want the syrup.
- Turn off heat and let ginger cool in the syrup.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room t° when you want to use or microwave for 20 seconds or so before pouring onto cake.
- Brown sugar: being the star of this cake, I want to clarify that any type of brown sugar can be used. I usually favor a darker one, but lately, I haven't been able to find it, so light sugar it is. The difference is in the depth of flavor. I find that darker sugar has a more pronounced caramel/molasses flavor, and that translated to the cake. But they all work.
- Milk: Whole, low fat, and almond milk, all work.
- Bundt or round cake: double the recipe and use a 10-cup bundt cake pan or a 9-inch round one.
- Syrup: you can add the room t° syrup to a hot cake or a hot syrup on a room temperature cake. That way it will seep and better infuse the cake batter.
- Storing: the cake can be frozen (well wrapped) or kept at room temperature for 2 days, well wrapped.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
- Serving Size: ⅛
- Calories: 314
- Sugar: 31.8 g
- Sodium: 109.6 mg
- Fat: 9.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 55 g
- Fiber: 0.9 g
- Protein: 5.3 g
- Cholesterol: 67 mg
Keywords: brown sugar ginger loaf
Adapted from The Pocket Cookbook, by Elizabeth Woody from Mc Call's magazine staff