Sugar High Friday: Gingered Coffeecake
Actually, the question became: is this possible? Already in pajamas and in for the night, venturing to the grocery store was not an option - I wanted to bake, but I wanted to do it now. I haven't worked much with ginger in desserts, only in Nigella Lawson's fresh gingerbread, and I also didn't want something that tried or true, or something that felt out of sync with the season. And like the proverbial lightbulb, coffeecake lit up in my head, perfect for the weekend guests and late breakfasts. Gingered coffeecake it was to be.
Luckily, I'd made a trip just a night or two ago when planning on making cinnamon rolls for the weekend, so I had buttermilk in stock. Unfortunately for me, I don't keep 'staples' like eggs or milk around, and it would have to utilize the bag of crystallized ginger or the ground ginger in the cabinet. Luckily, some hunting around found a recipe for eggless buttermilk cake, and a half-cup of oats remained in the container to make a streusel topping. With some minor alterations for palatibility, resourcefulness pulled through. A cake started on a whim - just like this blog - came into being.
adapted and tweaked from several recipes
2 packed c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c (one stick) butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
~ 1/3 c. quick-cooking oats
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
optional pinch salt
3 heaping Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger
3 Tbsp. butter
heaping 1/4 c. dry cake mixture
Preheat oven to 375 F and generously grease a 9x9 or similar capacity cake pan. (you may use an 8x8, as I did, but be forewarned that you will need to cover the top with foil to prevent streusel from browning too much while the interior cooks, and that it will take perhaps up to 45 minutes to bake.)
In large bowl, crumble the brown sugar and whisk in flour, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter and then mix with your hands until the mixture is crumbly and has a sandy feel. Reserve heaping 1/4 c. for streusel.
Whisk in baking soda, pinching to make sure no lumps remain, and the salt. Mix together buttermilk and vanilla and stir to combine.
In separate medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour,brown sugar and salt for the streusel. Separate pieces of ginger as best as possible and toss to coat, separating the pieces as you go along. Rub or cut in the 3 Tbsp. butter until the mixture forms large (bigger than a pea) clumps of crumbs. Add dry cake mix to your liking, rubbing into the crumb mixture to combine.
Pour buttermilk cake mixture into greased pan and even across the top with a spatula. Gather streusel crumbs into clumps or leave sandy as you prefer and drop streusel over the top of the cake. Bake for 30 minutes, checking at 20 or 25 minutes into baking if you need to cover the top with foil to prevent overbrowning. Remove from oven when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean (may have some streusel crumbs attached, but no wet cake) and place on a rack to cool before cutting.