I was standing over Mr NQN trying to organise his joint birthday party with his brother. And like a smaller version of my organisational hero Franck Eggelhoffer I was directing. As usual. I had done my research and I was keen to try a new vegetarian restaurant and I thought it would be perfect to go there for the combined birthday celebration-one where vegetarians, vegans, carnivores and just plain regular people would come.
"SMS your brother that I found a vegetarian restaurant. It will be about $30 a person and should keep the vegetarians and vegans happy as well as the meat eaters as they do all sorts of things with mock meat. It's also central enough for everyone. Also they don't mind us bringing a cake" I told him.
"Okay okay..." he said while tapping away at the phone. A few moments later there was a text back from his brother. I picked up the phone and I saw the email exchange
Mr NQN: "Hey mate you ok to go to vegetarian restaurant for bday?"
The Assman: "OK thanks"
I had to laugh at his brevity and Mr NQN in turn held out his hands "Whaaat? That's what I wanted him to say right?". I told him that as a party planner his business might not meet with success but he took slight umbrage at that.
"No, in fact I've become rather good at getting the answers that I want..." although he added for good measure "I haven't quite figured you out yet."
This one is for you my darling Mr NQN. I hope you never figure me out. And I mean that in a good way.
The recipe was sent to me by a reader Alexandra who forwarded me the recipe after I asked her for it. She had won a bake off with the recipe and I knew that Mr NQN would adore it as an avowed ginger lover! It's a sticky ginger cake, the stickiness given by the use of stem ginger in syrup as well as the ginger syrup as well poured all over it. There's some polenta used in it to give it a slight crunch and the cake is most wonderful served with a cup of your favourite tea. With your favourite person too, of course.
So tell me Dear Reader, are you the person that organises birthdays and gatherings? And do you prefer it that way?
Gluten Free Sticky Ginger Cake
Adapted from Allrecipes
125g/4ozs. caster sugar
125g4 ozs. black molasses (or golden syrup or corn syrup)
6 large eggs beaten
250g/9 ozs. ground almonds
175g/6 ozs. polenta
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
300g/10 ozs. of stem ginger in syrup
Prep:30 mins | Cook:45 mins
Buyer's tip: you can buy stem ginger in syrup at David Jones
Step 1 - Line a 20cm/8 inch springform tin with parchment paper. In a sieve, strain the syrup from stem ginger (the syrup is quite thick so give it time to sieve) and put the syrup to the side for later. Finely chop all stem ginger except for four stem ginger pieces which you will top the cake with.
Step 2 - Cream butter, sugar and molasses or syrups until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs one at a time-it will look like it won't come together but it will in the end.
Step 3 - Fold in almonds, polenta, baking powder, ground ginger and chopped stem ginger. Mix thoroughly. Spoon mixture into the prepared 10 inch baking tin and bake for about 60-70 minutes minutes at 180 degrees C (350 F or gas mark 4) until a skewer inserted comes out clean .
4. When cake is cooked, set aside to cool for around 10 minutes and then remove cake from tin. Slice off the top if it is uneven and carefully plate on top of a serving plate bottom side up so that you get a completely flat surface. Spoon the syrup over the top of the cake while it is still warm and them place ginger pieces in the centre.