I stay motivated to cook by cooking new dishes as often as possible. When you repeat the same dish over and over, it can become monotonous and not seem as exciting a project. I find that when you make something new, there is always an element of mystery to it that keeps me motivated.
Anything can happen; you never quite know how it will turn out. Will it be a new favorite? Will it be a lot of work and end up disappointing you? The unknown of it all makes the experience at least not boring.
There is nothing worse though than spending a lot of time on a meal, and being very excited about it, and having the finished product turn out just ok. In fact, I absolutely hate it when I cook an ok meal. It seems like such a waste when so many things you can cook are great. On the flip side, there is something extremely fulfilling when I make a new dish that I love.
Recently, I made a new cake that turned out perfectly. It was a ginger pound cake. The recipe sounded a tiny bit strange, but certainly unique, so I decided to try it for a special dinner.[twocol_one_last]
One of the biggest problems I have had in the past with pound cakes is them sticking to the pan and not coming out in one piece. This recipe (that I adapted from Bon Appetit) called for a technique that worked perfectly, and I will always use this from now on in a pound cake. I have tried sprays, butter, flour and nonstick pans, but have seemed to have problems with at least a piece of the cake sticking to the pan. This one slid out perfectly, and I was very excited.
You simply brush melted butter generously on all sides of the bunt pan and coat it with raw, or very granulated, sugar. Carefully put the batter in the pan in a way that doesn’t disrupt the sugar coating. When the cake comes out of the oven, you let it sit for 15 minutes on a cooling wrack, then bang the sides a bit and turn it over on a wrack to remove the pan. Mine slid right out.
The cake itself was also close to perfect. It was moist and flavorful and tasted delicious. You have to love ginger to love this cake, but if you do, it’s one for you to try. You could serve it with berries and ice cream, but I liked it simply with whipped cream.
Make this to complete an Asian dinner, perhaps? The leftovers were also delicious for breakfast.
Recipe: Ginger Pound Cake
- Softened butter (for brushing pan)
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 F. Brush softened butter generously all over inside of 12-cup bundt pan. Sprinkle raw sugar over butter in pan, tilting pan to coat completely.
- Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter in large bowl until smooth. Add 2 cups sugar; beat on medium-high speed until blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 egg yolk and vanilla, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with sour cream in 2 additions, beating on low speed just until blended after each addition. Mix in crystallized ginger. Spread batter in pan, being careful not to dislodge raw sugar.
- Bake cake until top is light brown and tester inserted near center comes out with a few small crumbs attached, about an hour. Transfer to rack; cool in pan for 15 minutes. Gently tap bottom edge of pan on work surface while rotating pan until cake loosens. Place rack atop pan and invert cake onto rack; remove pan. Cool completely.
Number of servings (yield): 12