In lieu of a Friday post, here's a perfect recipe for a slow Sunday afternoon. My friend Sophie baked this recipe as muffins a couple of years ago when she lived with us. The house was filled with the wafting warmth of ginger and all 24 of them were gone within the weekend. The result is an airy sponge spiked with ginger and a hint of Guinness, but I’d never ventured to make them myself as the recipe requires many more ingredients and more time than my mixed, in the oven and ready to eat in 45 minutes lemon drizzle cake. Tea with Bea is a charming book from the founders of Bea’s of Bloomsbury, a teahouse in the heart of London, and features every mouth-watering cake you can think of, from peanut butter cheesecake and key lime pie to the thoroughly British afternoon tea scones and tropical fruit trifle. I think it's best served fresh from the oven with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, but I’ve included Bea’s instructions for golden cream cheese icing as well.
1.5 tsps bicarbonate of soda
280g plain flower
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
100g caster sugar
100g dark brown soft sugar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
200ml sunflower oil
Preheat the oven to 170C/ gas mark 5
Put the Guinness and treacle in a tall saucepan (the next step will cause the mixture to bubble up violently and potentially overflow, so choose the largest pan you have) and bring to a boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda (this part is like a science experiment!). Let stand until completely cool.
Put the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves in a bowl and stir until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, both sugars and the grated fresh ginger. Gradually add the oil. Add the Guinness syrup and stir throughly.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the peppered cupcake cases (makes 24) or a 25cm round cake tin. Bake the cupcakes at 170C for 25-35 minutes or the cake at 160C for 45-55 minutes. When they feel springy to the touch, they’re ready to take out. I recommend it fresh out of the oven, when it's still warm, with a glass of cold milk.
for the icing
225g cream cheese
60g unsalted butter, softened
175g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp golden syrup
Put the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until combined and glossy. Add the icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Fold in the vanilla extract and golden syrup. The book suggests to pipe the icing, but I think I’d prefer smothering it on with a palette knife to look like the frothy head of a Guinness pint.