Because a whole pound of butter and two loaves is just too much for us.
This is the second pound cake I’ve posted here. The first was one from Michael Ruhlman, which we ate with a grilled peach compote. Very summery. On this cold, dry, winter day after 26″ of snow, a simpler cake, but one with a little zing of ginger, seemed like a better idea. Today’s recipe comes from Annie Somerville’s Fields of Greens. It makes a lighter-textured cake than Ruhlman’s, which has a more traditional dense crumb, even though the ingredients are not wildly different. Somerville uses fewer eggs and a little more sugar, plus some milk and baking powder—that doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a noticeable difference. The cake has a light, crisp crust, and the interior is very tender. Although Somerville suggests serving it with a fruit compote, it makes a nice midday snack on its own with a cup of tea.
I did use a couple of shortcuts—I didn’t have an orange, so I used dried orange peel, and I used ginger that is already grated in a convenient tube (I am in love with that stuff). I did use cake flour, but the recipe gives an option for regular flour, which might make a difference in the final texture.
Ginger Half-Pound Cake
Preheat oven to 300°; butter and lightly flour a 9″ loaf pan. If you double the recipe, which would be the original full recipe, you can use a tube pan or two loaves.
1 7/8 cups cake flour or 1 5/8 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
I used a stand mixer to make the batter. It is an incredibly fluffy batter that suggests the texture of the final cake.
- Cream the butter and zest at low to medium speed for about 5 minutes, until creamy.
- Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
- Mix in the ginger.
- Add in the flour-baking powder-salt mixture, alternating with the milk. The original recipe suggests beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Spread the batter in the buttered and floured pan and bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes. The original recipe suggests 1 3/4 to 2 hours, but does not distinguish between the tube pan or the loaf pans. I suspect the long time is meant for the tube pan version. I watched mine carefully after the first hour and tested it with a toothpick at 1 hr 20 mins when it was done.
I think this cake would go well with pudding or a creamy custard, as well as with a fruit sauce.