Ming Tsai’s Spiced Ginger Cake

I always look forward to the summers with childlike glee. And not just for the sunshine, warm temperatures, and beach days, but for the summer produce. I think of the piles of emerald zucchini and fuzzy peaches at the farmers’ market stands. I pine for the days when there is fresh corn on the cob and sweet ruby berries. In winter or fall it always seems like summer weather and summer produce holds so much potential for summer magic – spontaneous backyard cookouts with fresh, colorful salads or that shiny, happy feeling when you see a beautiful sunset after the perfect day.


So after all this talk of gorgeous summer stone fruits and squashes, why am I making a ginger cake in August? Here you are nearing the end of a hot and feisty summer season and you’re making what’s essentially a Christmas treat? Okay, okay, let me explain.

IMG_1696This summer has been busy, but not busy in back-to-back spontaneous backyard cookouts or days at the beach, mostly busy in conversation, busy in thought, busy in my head. We have been planning. We have been considering and now the decision has been made (though the work is far from done!).


I never thought this was where life would take us next, but here we go! On to the next adventure!

But still, why are you making ginger cake Erin? Is it Seattle’s favorite cake? The state cake of Washington? Noooo! Not even close! With our move fast approaching and our cupboards still well-stocked I am making a last attempt to use up as many ingredients as I can before our move so we don’t have to throw them out or take them with us. I am also not giving up on my Cookbook Challenge. (Had you forgotten??) This recipe is slightly adapted from Ming’s Tsai’s lovely cookbook Blue Ginger. I actually already made something from his book, but I enjoyed it only for a few seconds after it was made and I never posted the recipe (as leftovers it somehow turned into a salty mush). So here is a recipe to use up some molasses, candied ginger, sugar, and spices in the cabinet.


Who says you can’t eat ginger cake in the summertime? No one that I know!

Feel free to amp up the spices even more. This was not nearly as spicy as it could’ve been.

East Meets West Spice Cake

adapted slightly from Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger

1+1/3 cup flour (minus 1 T.)

1 T. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. allspice

a good grind of freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup minced candied ginger

Whipped cream to serve

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake round or square pan.

In a large bowl measure out your 1+1/3 cup of flour. Remove one tablespoon and put it back in the flour canister. Add the cornstarch, baking soda, spices, and salt and whisk to blend. In a medium bowl whisk sugar, oil, molasses, egg, and ginger. Gradually add in water while whisking. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to blend. Batter will be fairly thin.

Pour into greased cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it no longer looks wet and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and serve with fresh whipped cream and orange marmalade jam*

*I fully intended on serving mine with orange marmalade as I figured it would be divine. I was sad to find out when I opened my marmalade jar that there was mold on top so I had to go without.


Enjoy the summer! Embrace the changes!


4 thoughts on “Ming Tsai’s Spiced Ginger Cake

  1. I’ll be trying this recipe very soon. I want to compare it to the recipe in James Beard’s , Beard on Bread, which has been my favorite for years. I wonder what the cornstarch is for, and how it will alter the final product.

    • Andrea, the cornstarch is my own addition. Ming’s recipe calls for 1/2 cake flour and I have found that using a bit of cornstarch with all-purpose flour is supposed to be a good substitute. That said, I have no idea if it makes a huge difference or not. Let me know what your results are!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s