Realising the arrival of December was a shock to me. No matter how much i've prepared for these last 4 weeks of 2011, I could never comprehend how my time went by. How did Christmas creep up so soon? Did i fulfill all the goals i've aimed for during this time last year? What will be my new goals then?
Once these questions popped, my thoughts were in disarray and my heart begins to beats like an R&B song. I was worried, I was afraid, I was excited. And my eyes were blinking in jitters as if it was trying to replay what it has captured.
I thought about everything that happened. All the memories i should keep (because it tends to auto-delete), all the memories i should let go of. This year was a year of transition for me. Graduating from my Bachelor's degree, moving back to where i grew up, where i was born, working an office job, and revamping my blog to what it is now. I went though fearsome events, surprising events, remorseful events and happy joyous events.Going through all that change is never easy. I have a lot to forgive and forget, a lot more to be forgiven for and most of all to be thankful for.
One of the most amazing joyous events I have went through, is how I improved my baking skills. I went through angel food cake, macaroons, cinnamon rolls, 6-layer cakes, rainbow cake, flaky crusts, swiss rolls and mousse cakes. I now know what's creaming the butter, what's "mixing it like crazy" and what's "do not over mix". So, why not put that to use?
I'm not a big fan of ginger, how it tastes and how it smells. However, i'm the biggest fan of Gingey the gingerbread man (and i means "biggest" literally). Hence, when media shows its victory (once again) as i purchase this $25 can of ginger cookies, which i don't adore, i had to put it to use.
Immediately, pound cake came to my mind. I've never made one before and never succeeded in making cakes with that buttery, soft, yet dense texture. As far as my baking adventurist goes, I had to make one. Hence, when i saw this at Technicolor kitchen, I knew it was perfect for me. There wasn't too much ginger and the play of Almond with spices intrigued me.
Marbled Cinnamon Ginger almond loaf cake (adapted from Technicolor Kitchen)
150g cake flour*
75g almond mea
l10g teaspoons baking powder
5g teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon salt
113g unsalted butter, room temperature
90g granulated sugar
30g light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
180ml whole milk, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
60ml dark molasses
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour a 22.5x12.5x7.5cm (9x5x3in) loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the cake flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Place butter and granulated & light brown sugar in a large bowl and beat in medium speed until pale and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition (scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally).
5. Reduce the speed to low and alternately incorporate the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.
6. Remove half of the batter and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir the vanilla extract into one bowl and the molasses and spices into the other.
7. Drop large dollops of both batters into the prepared pan. Alternating laces.
8. Using a paring knife or wooden skewer, swirl the batters together to get a marbled effect – do not overmix.tap the pan gently once or twice on the work surface to remove any air bubbles.
9. Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too fast, use an aluminium foil to cover it and continue baking.
10. Cool the cake in the pan over a wire rack for 15-20 minutes then carefully unmold onto the rack. Cool completely.
The creaming of butter, incorporating of eggs and not over mixing the dry and wet ingredients is important to the texture of the cake. It's dense and packed with flavours that melts as you taste it (thanks to butter and molasses), yet its soft and light because the creaming introduces air pockets into the batter. The ginger and cinnamon makes it warm and comforting but the lightness of the cake makes it inviting for seconds. My cake turned out much darker. This is probably due to the use of unsulphured molasses. If you want a lighter colour, you can always use half honey with half molasses.
How's your year,