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Ginger Brandy Tea Cake
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A savory and sweet bundt cake

Sundial Gardens

Serves/Makes:1 bundt cake

  • Cake:
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (225 ml) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger powder
  • 2 cups (475 ml) unbleached white flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp (12.5 ml) baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) to 3/4 cup (175 ml) coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup (225 ml) coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Glaze:
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) to 4 tbsp (60 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy
  • Butter a 9-inch molded cake pan or Bundt pan, and dust lightly with flour.
  • Invert pan and tap gently to remove excess flour. Set pan aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C.).
  • In bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy -- about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating slowly after each egg.
  • Add the salt, vanilla extract, the ground ginger, the chopped crystallized ginger pieces, and mix slowly until all ingredients are blended.
  • In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder together.
  • Remove mixing bowl from the mixer (if used) and with a large wooden spoon alternately fold in the flour mixture with the brandy and milk until fully blended. Do not overmix!
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan firmly several times on the countertop (to remove air pockets), and bake in center of preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until done.
  • You can test if cake is done by inserting a thin skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done.
  • Also, the cake should be slightly firm to the touch and have separated a little from the side of the cake pan.
  • When cake is baked, place pan (with the cake still inside) on a rack to cool (15-20 minutes).
  • While cooling, prepare the glaze (see below).
  • Afterwards, turn cakepan upside down and place on plate. If it doesn't come out, tap the pan gently but firmly with a wooden spoon.
  • Glaze:
  • In a small pan add the brandy and the sugar and bring to a boil.
  • Let simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add the butter.
  • Stir until melted and well-blended.
  • With a small skewer or toothpick, prick the entire surface of the cake, then brush on the glaze.
  • Repeat until glaze has been used -- or save a little to brush on each slice just before serving.
If you choose not to glaze the cake, then just before serving dust the top with confectioner's sugar.

Suggestions for serving:

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and garnish with sprigs of rosemary or mint. You can add a bit of brandy for a more adult taste.

Note: this cake tastes better a day or two after baking, for the ginger and the brandy flavors will have had time to fully develop. It also freezes well, and often tastes better after it has been frozen and allowed to thaw at room temperature!

Recipe courtesy Tom Goddard, pastry chef at the Sundial as printed in the Sacramento Bee Feb. 2002.

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