In praise of ginger
Then it started to rain, and it pretty much hasn't stopped yet. So now I've reverted to my cozy winter recipe rotation, which includes boeuf bourguignon, various soups, roast chickens, and Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread Cake.
Ginger is a crucial member of a holy quinity of spices--cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are the others--that make gingerbread cake so delicious. (Yes, I made up the word "quinity". It's good though, right? Better than quintet.) Gingerbread cake is never exactly wimpy, but this one is extraordinarily muscular, amped up and darkened by the addition of Guinness. I like to throw in some candied ginger as well. It's very easy to make, although this time around I had a bit of trouble encouraging it to leave the pan as it was cooling and was left with fist-sized hunks of cake that weren't particularly attractive. That's when a light dusting of powdered sugar comes in handy.
Wikipedia tells me, "Ground and fresh ginger taste quite different and ground ginger is a particularly poor substitute for fresh ginger." Ouch. Ground ginger does have a duskier, less tingly flavor than fresh, but let's not write it off just yet. I wonder what this cake would be like if I tried adding in some fresh ginger, very finely grated? It just might blow my mind.