I love reading...actually, I can't live without reading. I can't imagine a life without books or a night I don't fall asleep reading one AND this is probably the reason I can't retain a storyline or author. Lately, I can't get enough of food writers. I look forward to the end of the day, when I get into my comfy sweatpants, crawl into bed and read about an author's culinary adventures. At the moment, I am reading Under The Table; Saucy Tales from Culinary School by Katherine Darling. Darling, recounts her experience at The French Culinary Institute and insight into what it's like to attend this prestigious school. The book also provides 24 original recipes and the recipe that caught my eye, was the Apple-Bottom Gingercake. I thought, perfect fall recipe. Apples, molasses and brown sugar. I swear the smell and taste of the batter made me think of my childhood and my grandparents. I would even say, it brought back memories of the 40's, except I was not raised in the 40's. I guess it was the smell and taste of the Molasses batter licked straight from the spoon that evoked memories of my younger family, a warm steamy kitchen (those old radiators), black and white T.V. and brown bread in a can...the latter making more sense then the "Back to the Future" memory I had while making this cake. A thought just came to me...... I could have been listening to my Big Band compilation CD while baking this Apple-Bottom Gingercake, next time for sure and there will be a next time because this cake is pure comfort food. As the author suggests, serve with ice cream or a big, cold glass of milk.....yum.
I made a minor change for the Apple Bottom part of the cake. The original recipe calls for 2 apples, 2 tbs butter and 2 tbs brown sugar, but I love apple in brown sugar and butter, so why not more of a good thing.
For the Apple Bottom:
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8 slices
For the gingercake:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 ground allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 cup dark molasses
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
To prepare the apple bottom: In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the butter and brown sugar until butter melts. Add the apples and cook gently until apples soften and caramelize slightly but still retain their shape, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
To make the gingercake: Preheat over to 325. Thoroughly grease 9 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking soda and ground brown sugar. Stir in the freshly grated ginger and molasses, then add the egg. The dough will be stiff, so I switched to an electric beater. Incorporate egg fully and add oil and hot water, blend just until smooth.
Spread apples and their caramel in one layer in prepared pan. Arrange them in a circular pattern or just layer them in. No worries. Gently pour in the gingercake batter and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The gingerbread is fully baked when a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes then invert to plate. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Cake tastes better the longer it sits.