Finally, finally, the daffodils and crocuses are opening their bright blossoms to the suddenly springlike air, their purple and yellow so clear and crayon-bright they look almost like plastic flowers stuck in the dirt. Jacques Torres's chocolate shop in Dumbo is filled with row after row of chicks and bunnies, along with a few other barnyard animals (my favorite? "Funny Pig Dancin' a Jig!") along with many little bags of the inexplicably popular chocolate-covered cheerios. (I once tried to make rice krispie treats using cheerios instead of the usual RKs. What a disaster that was. Nothing makes oat-flavored compressed sawdust taste better, not even butter and marshmallows.) And it's suddenly time to think about the marzipan treats at Elk Candy on the Upper East Side and the baby Peeps (yes, little tiny baby Peeps! Or so my mother tells me) and Cadbury creme eggs in every Duane Reed.
Meanwhile, I've been holding out with the recipe for that lemon-ginger cake, as lauded by the so-kind Bakerina, and nibbled by me for days and days with countless cups of tea. Popped in a sealed plastic bag, it lasts extremely well, staying moist and lemony-gingery whenever you want it. As mentioned before, this is nothing like gingerbread; rather, it's a moist, rather dense and buttery lemon cake with a hint of ginger.
Drenched Ginger and Lemon Cake
Adapted from Good-Tempered Food, by Tamasin Day-Lewis
3/4 cup (6 oz or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown (muscovado) sugar, packed
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour (I used a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 TB milk
5 knobs of preserved ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
2 TB sugar (raw or demerara, if you have it)
1 TB honey
2 TB ginger syrup
Grease a 7 or 8 inch cake pan (I used a deep 7 inch springform pan). Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by zest.Whisk baking powder, flour, and salt together, then stir into butter mix. Add enough milk to make a thick mixture that will drop off a spoon in large gloppy clumps. Stir in ginger. Plop into pan and bake 40-50 minutes.
Let cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack (right side up) to cool. While cake is still warm, boil up syrup ingredients, letting it boil together for a minute or two. Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over cake. Slowly pour hot syrup all over cake, let it soak in.
I think this is nicest while still warm, or reheated briefly.