Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 20 of 52: Ginger Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

I think as I move through my decision-making process each week to determine what dessert to attempt next, I find my eclectic upbringing in my younger years to be a huge influence.

By the time I was in 5th grade, I had lived in a suburb of Boston, a small town near Lansing, College Station (Gigem' Aggies!), and Ankara, Turkey.  My father worked for the USDA and it resulted in moving a lot, at least until 5th grade when we landed in Iowa. And despite leaving for a year, I have been in this state ever since.

But in addition to my varied addresses, diverse cultures are a part of me. My heritage includes Czech, Irish, German, Cherokee, and English. My grandmothers both spent many hours in the kitchen and somehow, I think I soaked it in even though it may not have been conscious.

Strange though, despite never having lived in Thailand, I have a strong liking for pad thai, ginger, and peanut butter.  And so, when I start to think of howto create a new dessert, I always think of how I can incorporate dinner into them. For some reason, I think that I am trying to find a way to have my dinner and eat it too (insert laughter here!).

So without further explanation, enjoy this week's cake!

This week, I had a craving for ginger.  Not sure exactly why, but the smell of it is enticing to me.  I have not had a ginger cake before and so I had to do a little bit of research to get this one worked out.

Ginger Cake w/Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
¼ t salt
8 T (1 stick) butter, unsalted, room temperature
½ c brown sugar
3 eggs
1/3 c vegetable oil
Zest from one lemon
1 t vanilla extract
1½” of grated fresh ginger
½ c crystalized ginger, finely chopped
1 c sour cream

Adapted from, “Barefoot Contessa - Parties!” Lemon Cake, and
½ c creamy peanut butter
¼ c (½ stick) butter, unsalted, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese (in the brick form, fat free)
1 T vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
3½ c powdered sugar

Adapted from
Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly spray with oil two 8” cake rounds.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar (the more you cream and whip in air, the fluffier the cake – so cream according to your preference). Add in eggs, one at a time, then the remaining ingredients until mixed.  Slowly add the dry ingredients by the large spoonful and mix until just incorporated (do not overmix).

Split batter between the two cake rounds and bake for 30 minutes.  Sides should be golden and top should be set and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Let the cakes cool slightly in the pan, then set out on a rack to cool completely.

In the meantime, make the frosting.  Cream all ingredients except the powdered sugar.  Then slowly add the powdered sugar until you get the consistency you desire (I like it creamy and not too stiff, so I stopped at 3½ cups, but it also depends on the oil content of your peanut butter and the fat content of  your cream cheese).

I frosted only the tops of the cakes, but you can frost everything, again depending on your preference.  But I would suggest saving some of the frosting, just to put on a spoon and eat.  It is that good!


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