Stem ginger is a wonderful, cheap ingredient to have in your baking cupboard. (‘Cos everyone has a whole cupboard devoted to baking don’t they?!) Here I’ve used it to enliven chocolate brownies and as a great addition to creme fraiche (works just as good with whipped cream). I chop up the stem and also use the syrup for a double ginger hit. I like to add both when making my extra gingery Parkin. The stem would be wonderful chopped into ginger cupcake sponges plus some syrup mixed into the frosting with a chunk of stem atop (light bulb moment)… or added in a marmalade cake… or even just the syrup dribbled on ice cream! What about adding some to your Christmas mincemeat (planning to make mine this week), or your Christmas cake or pudding? That would be pretty amazing methinks. Sorry, got a bit excited, having a little one woman stem ginger brainstorm there…
The recipe is adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Chocolat book, which I bought at the Cake and Bake show last year after seeing him bake twice on stage. It is a big, fat book of chocolate cake recipes, not exactly a tome I would recommend for slimmers but a good one to have in your collection if you like making special occasion cakes and treats. I like Eric, he has a twinkle in his eye. I imagine he’d be fun to get a bit drunk with. Know what I mean? This book has the same sense of fun about it. And his brownie recipe is one I go back to again and again (simply omit the ginger to make his original).
To make about 16, depending on how small you cut your squares:
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150g unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
75g plain flour
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
100g chocolate chips or chocolate chopped up
2 stem ginger balls, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons of stem ginger syrup
Stem ginger syrup – I use about 1 teaspoon to 3 tablespoons equivalent – just add to taste!
- Preheat oven to 160C (fan, 180C non fan).
- Grease and line a square 20cm x 20cm cake tin.
- Melt the chocolate, butter and vanilla over boiling water in a metal bowl. Don’t let the hot water touch the bowl or it will burn the chocolate. Just as it’s melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar. Pour mixture into a larger bowl.
- Beat in the eggs. Fold in sifted flour, cocoa and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and ginger, both stem and syrup.
- Pour cake batter into the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye and remove when the cake starts to crack. Turn off the heat and leave for 5 more minutes in the oven. Remove and leave to cool completely in tin.
- When cool, tip out and cut into squares. I freeze half as they are so rich you won’t want to eat them all in a matter of days… right?!