July 3, 2020

CHOCOLATE AND GINGER CAKE and the importance of licking the spoon!

It was my little brother's birthday recently and he came to have a socially distanced lunch with us to celebrate.  He's ten years younger than me and not so little any more!
The forecast was for a nice warm, sunny day so we opted to have a barbecue.  For dessert I made a raspberry trifle, a favourite of his and of Nick's.  For a birthday cake a chocolate and ginger cake was requested.  At the back of my mind I vaguely remembered a Mary Berry recipe for the very same thing and with a bit of googling found it in several places.  One is on the Sainsbury's website here and the other is on the Happy Foodie website here.
I have given both links because links have a habit of disappearing after a while.  I find it really annoying to find that a link for something I have got all excited about has disappeared altogether, but that's the nature of the internet I suppose.  Hopefully with two links to go at one of them should still be there in a couple of years' time!
In any case, the recipe comes from a book entitled "Mary Berry cooks the perfect" and of course that's where I had originally seen it - although my copy is in France and we are not.  Yet.
This particular book is a "how to do it" kind of book, not just a series of recipes.  However, Mary in her wisdom omitted to remind the reader of one very important fact.
You should always lick the spoon, as soon as possible.
When I was a little girl I was always allowed to lick the spoon.  As soon as the cake was in the oven I couldn't wait to do it and, with no little brother around for the first ten years of my life, I had it all to myself.  It's a custom that I have continued to this very day and it has on several occasions saved the day.  This day was one of them!
On licking the spoon I thought "it doesn't taste sweet enough".  Within nanoseconds I had realised why.  The carefully weighed out sugar was still in a little pot on the worktop and not in the cake!
The cake had only been in the oven for about three or four minutes at the most (I'm that eager to get to the spoon licking part) and it was still liquid.  I whisked it out of the oven at the speed of lightening.  Getting the mixture out of the tins and back into a bowl was a messy job and the tins had to be washed, greased and relined.  Luckily it's an "all in one" kind of cake recipe (my favourite kind) so all I did was beat the missing sugar into the mixture as evenly as I could and get it back in the oven pronto.   
The cake was delicious and a great success.  You would never have known how close it was to being a complete disaster- although you might have if I hadn't licked the spoon so promptly.
It had a lovely texture, a good chocolatey flavour with a hint of ginger and the frosting looked pale and inviting against the darkness of the cake.  The only thing I did differently to the recipe was to decorate with sprinkles rather than shavings of preserved ginger.
It was a hit with the birthday boy and everyone else and I shall definitely be adding it to my list of favourite cakes.  But I'll try to remember to put all the ingredients in next time.
Cuts into 10-12 slices.


  1. Phew! Disaster averted. I always lick the spoon too -- but I've never had it reveal anything like that to my knowledge.

    1. Susan, I would have thought the cake was a write-off except that I remembered Elizabeth telling me about when it happened to her - so I just did the same!

  2. Very nice cake. Looks good and it really must taste good. I've had to remove and amend mixture from tins before but I don't think I've ever retrieved them from the oven to do it. That's quick thinking. I confess that I never lick the spoon. It feels a bit wrong to me and I think that goes back to my mother telling me that it wan't a good thing to do when I was extremely young. She might have been saving the spoon for herself, I suppose.

    1. Phil, a friend had told me a few years ago about how it happened to her. She rescued her cake and I remembered that, otherwise I might have written it off and started again.