I wrote about Barefoot Contessa’s gingerbread here: http://bit.ly/7OsDTJ. I had modest success with the recipe, since I left out some vital elements (the raisins and candied gingerbread). The orange zest was a nice touch, but I’m not sure I’d try the recipe again after discovering the ones below. Sorry, Contessa, but you’ve been one-upped–at least when it comes to gingerbread.
Having been on a baking bender recently, I’ve had an epiphany: cakes made with oil turn out better than butter-based ones. Many pastry chefs like to begin their cake recipes by whipping together butter and sugar. But oil-based cakes just retain their moisture better (without making you resort to adding other fats, like sour cream). Plus if you use healthy oils, they’re not as bad for you.
Case in point is the two gingerbread cakes I made last week. One is a Splendora staff recipe, Allison’s ginger cake, and the one that went over the best with my tasters. Doesn’t look like much, but it was the clear winner. Two keys to its success: the oil (I used canola, not peanut) and the fresh ginger–much more potent than ground ginger powder–which made all the difference. (Click on the photo above for the recipe.)
The other is a recipe I tried by way of Smitten Kitchen. The caramelized apple topping is a great complement to gingerbread. Bummer that the cake in this recipe was too sticky, dense and clung to the roof of my mouth in a bad way. Plus, the flavor just wasn’t up to the Splendora cake. However, I’m proud that I managed to arrange the apple slices in a somewhat neat pattern. (Click on the photo below for the recipe.)
To sum it up: the perfect gingerbread cake is a combination of the Splendora cake base with the caramelized apple topping. That’s what I’m going to try next time. Stay tuned for the results.