December 31, 2010

Mint Chocolate Brownies & Hot Chocolate

For the December recipes, I made the chocolate mix and mint brownies! All were fantastic, so thanks to those who contributed. I'm happy to have the chocolate mix to last the rest of the winter, and I think I might introduce mint brownies into other seasons besides Christmas. Yum! If you'd like to read the rest of my post, please feel free to check out The Lovely Lady Baker blog

Happy New Year!

December 5, 2010

December Recipes

I asked Joanna, one of our newest to share a recipe with us. I was specific though... I've known Joanna since college and she is super sweet. She shared her Hot Chocolate recipe with me once and after that I was addicted. Here is what Joanna has to say about her recipe:

"I grew up making this Hot Coco Mix with my mom every winter. We would fill a big tupperware container and keep it near the stove. When I moved away, my mom would mail me a bag of it.
A fun way to incorporate this into Christmas gifts is to fill a mason jar with the mix, top it off with some mini marshmallows, and tie a ribbon with instructions around the top. It is also a big hit at retreats, holiday parties, or just to snuggle up on the couch during a cold winter day. Enjoy!"

Hot Chocolate Mix
8 quarts dry milk (11c)
8 oz French vanilla powdered coffee creamer
16 oz nonfat powdered dairy creamer
1 lb milk chocolate mix (Quik or off-brand, both work well)
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix well (pouring the ingredients in layers helps). Store in air tight container. Fill cup or mug 1/2 full with coco mix then add hot water. (I like to save room to add a little cold milk to make it creamier and cool it off faster.)

You can substitute 24 oz of nonfat dairy creamer instead of using the French vanilla creamer. However, my mom believes the French vanilla is what makes it so creamy and delicious :)

Who can resist an incredible warm brownie with hot chocolate? I hope none of you. I've posted two brownie recipes below, but feel free to use your favorite and share your recipe with us! 

Mint Brownies
Mint seems to be a  good pairing with chocolate, no? Here is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen that looks delicious! 

Check out the link above for the full recipe! 

and one more just for fun
Espresso Brownies
mmmm.... coffee and chocolate. 

1/2 C butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 T espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 C miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
chocolate cream cheese frosting

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and cool. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line an 8x8x2 inch pan with foil extending over the edges. grease foil and set aside.  

Add sugar to cooled chocolate. Add eggs one at a time beating until just combined. Stir in espresso powder and vanilla. In a small bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Add flour mix to chocolate and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate pieces. Spread batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Spread with chocolate cream cheese frosting and top with chocolate covered espresso beans. 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
In a small saucepan heat and stir 1/2 C semisweet chocolate pieces over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and cool. In a medium bowl, stir together 3oz cream cheese with 1/4 C powdered sugar. Stir in melted chocolate until smooth. Store in a single layer in an airtight container. 

from Better Homes and Gardens 30 Blissful Brownies Recipes 

What's next? maybe a contest?
Share with us your own creation for a savory baked item by December 30th, and you'll automatically be entered into our February recipe contest. Anything you can imagine. We're going to have a vote in early January and your recipe will be featured as one of our February recipes. What's in for you? Well, I'm glad you asked! Our very first winner will receive a copy of Savory Baking by Mary Cech! So how do we do this? I'm going to submit all of your recipes in random order in one post. You'll have the entire month of January to vote, and the winner will be announced February 1st on our monthly recipe post. More on voting to follow.
The fine print:
1. You MUST use your own recipe. If your recipe is based on another fantastic recipe, you must have changed at least 4 things about it to call it your own. Please be honest!
2. All entries must be received by December 30th at 12:00pm PST to be considered.
3. You must have made this recipe at least twice. Preferably, it should be something you really love and would like to share with everyone. 
4. There is no restriction on difficulty. We like a good challenge every now and then. 

November 27, 2010

Puffs & Pies

I love the holiday baking season!

I altered the Pumpkin Puffs recipe to a gluten-free alternative by adding an extra egg, 1/2 tsp of both soda and powder, and using GV flour. I also wanted it to be "old fashioned gingerbread"-like so I put all the batter on my pizza stone at once, slid it in the oven, and crossed my fingers that it would turn out like I expected....I took it to a LIFE group lunch and it was a hit! I added a layer of cream cheese frosting to the top and sprinkled with with pumpkin pie spice for appearance sake. I then cut it into squares and let people serve themselves straight off the stone. It worked really well.

This week for my husband's family's traditional, don't rock the boat, Thanksgiving dinner I made the Pear & Plum Pie. Usually when I serve them something non-traditional they take a small piece and I get, "mmm...that's good; it's really different" (which translates to: "that's too weird for me, don't make that again") I expected this with the pie, but it sounded really good, so I took it anyway. I followed the recipe as stated except for the cinnamon. My brother-in-law is allergic so I used just a bit of ginger and nutmeg. It turned out beautifully and I went home with an empty pie plate. Success! I loved the combination of flavors and will definitely make this one again!

November 18, 2010

November Recipes

Hello fellow bakers. I've been meaning to write this since the beginning of November, but life got in the way! Anyways, if you haven't already planned your Thanksgiving feast, and since Pie is an essential Thanksgiving dessert, I've added some pies for you to try. Some are fairly traditional in concept, but have a little twist or flair. I was inspired by my Better Homes and Garden magazine this month with recipes from a local bakery, Mission Beach Cafe, from pastry chef Alan Carter. I've included the recipes below, but feel free to use them as a base and create something fantastic. 

Dress up a store bought pie with Hazelnut cream! Or, if you're not into pie, share with us your favorite Thanksgiving dessert, or try the pudding recipe I added here! Can't wait to see what you all make.

Pear Plum Pie

2 rolled, refrigerated unbaked pie crusts
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
1 tsp lemon peel
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 C cored and coarsely chopped pears
2 C chopped plums
1 small quince, cored, sliced, and poached (or 1 C coarsely chopped pear)
2 T lemon juice
2 T port (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg beaten
1 T whipping cream

To prepare quince, simmer 5 minutes in water and drain. 

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Roll out pastry on floured board and place in a 9" pie plate without stretching the crust, trim pastry even with the rim of tin.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. In a large bowl combine pears, plums, and quince. Add lemon juice, port, and vanilla. Add sugar mixture; toss to coat. Transfer to prepared pie tin. 

Roll remaining pastry portion into a 12 inch circle. Place on filling, gently molding over the fruit. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie tin. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Cut 4 small slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Combine egg and cream; brush on pastry. Pace pie on a foil lined baking sheet. 

Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes covering edge of crust with foil, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning. Cool on wire rack. Makes 10 servings.  

Hazelnut Mousse

1/4 C pasteurized egg whites
1/4 C water
1/2 C sugar
1 C whipping cream
1 8oz carton mascarpone cheese
2 T Frangelico or other Hazelnut liqueur (optional)
1/2 C toasted, peeled, and ground hazelnuts

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (tips curl over when beaters are lifted). In a small saucepan combine water and sugar; cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and comes to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, cook at a steady boil over medium heat until mixture reaches 240˚F (about 5 minutes). 

Beat egg whites on high speed, slowly pouring in hot liquid mixture (pour against side of bowl and not beaters). When all the sugar mix is added, continue beating 5 minutes more to cool. 

IN a large bowl, whisk whipping cream and mascarpone; whisk in liqueur and 1/3 cup of hazelnuts. Whisk in cooled egg whites. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Serve with pumpkin pie. Makes 10 servings. 

Banana Pudding
Courtesy of Tyler Florence via Better Homes and Garden

2 C half and half
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 T unsalted butter
2 T vanilla extract

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 C powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1/2 of a 12 oz box of vanilla wafers (about 44)
3 ripe bananas, sliced 1/4 inch thick

For the pudding, combine half and half and sugar in a stainless steel bowl or top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Whisk in flour and salt until combined, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Place egg yolks in a separate bowl. Gradually add half of the hot cream mixture, stirring constantly to temper eggs. Whisk egg mixture into remaining hot cream and place back over simmering water. Cook whisking constantly until mixture has thickened to the consistency of pudding, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350˚F. For the meringue, beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until the whites form stiff peaks. 

To assemble, cover the bottom of a 2-quart square baking dish with half of the wafers. Top with half of the banana slices and half the pudding. Make a second layer, ending with pudding. With a spatula, spread meringue over entire banana pudding, forming attractive peaks. Place dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until mixture is golden brown on top. Makes 8-10 servings. 

For individual servings, layer pudding and wafers in serving dishes. Spread meringue on top and using a torch, brown meringue. 

October 31, 2010

Yummy Pumpkin Puffs!

As a newcomer to the cOven and first time blogger, I am excited to share my baking experience. I am part of the audio/visual team at church and practice every Thursday. It was the perfect opportunity to try out the pumpkin puff recipe. They were quick to make and turned out great! Since I have a sweet tooth, I decided to go ahead and drizzle them with frosting. Unfortunately, my camera battery died before I could take a picture of the finished product with the frosting. Overall, the team approved and said I can use them as guinea pigs any time. I plan on making a second batch for the girls study tomorrow.

October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Puffs

I made the pumpkin pumpkin puffs! I might try and make one more recipe before the end of the month. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Check out my post on The Lovely Lady Baker's blog. Can't wait to see what all of you chose to make! 

The Lovely Lady Baker

October 9, 2010

October Recipes

This month we have a variety of things to choose from. One is an old favorite, and one was suggested by Elisa. The other seemed easy and festive for the month of October. 

I love fall because it means pumpkins are in season! What better dessert to make than something pumpkin? Well, if you think otherwise, the brown sugar cupcakes are for you. Elisa thought these cupcakes looked tasty, and cupcakes are quite the craze these days. 

Please feel free to make any of the recipes for your entry this month. Try to post within the last week of the month with a few words and a picture if you can. 

For the next few months, I'd like all of you to share a recipe you would like to make. I'm thinking we are a group who likes options, so if we have a couple of recipes to try each month, everyone might be able to participate more. I'll try and combine them into November and December - and if you send me a lot of recipes, we will be set for the new year.

Pumpkin Cookies 
(I like to call them Pumpkin Puffs)
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C butter softened
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting Optional (I don't think it needs frosting)
2 C confectioners sugar
3 T milk
1 T melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Mix together the dry ingredients including spices. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and mix until incorporated. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool and drizzle frosting over the top if using. 

Cookies are cake-like in texture and get better with age. I think they are best the next day. Store up to one week in an airtight container. The cookies will be puffy - hence the name "puffs" and should not spread out on the pan. If you want them to be less puffy, press the dropped dough down with your fingers before baking. 

Pumpkin Truffles
2 1/2 C white chocolate chunks divided
1/3 C gingersnap cookie crumbs (more for garnish)
1/4 C canned pumpkin puree
1/4 C graham cracker crumbs (more for garnish)
1 T confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of fine salt
2 oz cream cheese softened

Melt 1/2 C of chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from heat and add all of the ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until solid enough to roll (about two hours). 

Line a baking tray with parchment. Melt remaining two cups chocolate and transfer to a small deep bowl. Working quickly, roll heaping teaspoons of the pumpkin mix by hand. Dip each ball into the melted chocolate making sure to cover each side fully. Let excess chocolate drip off the sides and set on parchment to dry. Sprinkle gingersnap or graham crackers over the top. Complete all balls and chill for one hour until chocolate is set. Keep refrigerated until serving. Makes about 30.  

Nigella's Burnt-Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 C plus 2 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 C self-rising cake flour
3 T sugar
5 T light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 T milk
12-cup muffin pan lined with 2 paper baking cups
For the icing:
1/2 C plus 2 T unsalted butter
1 2/3 to 2 C confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 T milk
Preheat the oven to 400˚F and then get on with burning your butter. Put it in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring all the time until it turns a dark golden color. Take the pan off the heat and strain the butter into a bowl or cup, as it will have made a sediment. In other words, this is like clarified butter, but with a smoky note. Let the butter solidify again but don't put it in the refrigerator; you need it to remain soft for the cupcakes. This shouldn't take long, except in hot weather, in which case leave the preheating of the oven till after the butter's been burnt.
When the butter is solid but still soft, put all the cake ingredients except the milk in a food processor and blitz to a smooth batter. As normal, add the milk down the funnel, pulsing sparingly to form a soft, dropping mixture.
Divide among the paper cups, and cook for 15-20 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, get on with the icing. It's the same procedure for the butter--burn, strain, solidify--then beat it with half the sugar or enough to make it stiff. Add 1T of milk and the remaining sugar alternately to reach a good consistency, and finally the vanilla.
While the icing's still soft, smear messily over the cooled and waiting cupcakes. Makes 12.

Last Year's Recipe

September 14, 2010

September Recipe - Pancakes!

Because I recently ate one of the largest pancakes I have ever seen in my life, and because Sarah is hungry for breakfast... we are making pancakes this month! 

Sarah picked our theme since pancakes are easy, and there are endless options. "Sourdough? Whole Wheat? Berry? Banana? There are so many crazy things you can do with pancakes!" says Sarah. 

Your task - make an amazing pancake. Dress up a box mix, or try those yeasted pancakes you have been reading about. Try posting your creations by the last week of the month. 

August 15, 2010

August Recipe : Summer Berry Trifle

Because it is summer, and because I can't resist berries, this month's recipe is a Trifle. I have included one recipe from Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant, Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks for you to follow, or you are more than welcome to create your own, or use your favorite recipe. The recipe below comes from the British Isles by Tom Walsh and is described as a "Proper Trifle" (because all things british are proper). 

If you don't use the recipe, remember trifles can be made with sponge cake or pound cake, layered with whipped cream or custard, and your choice of macerated fruits. Bake the pound cake from scratch - or from your favorite box - just let us know which. 

Can't wait to see all of your creations (and sorry for the late post!) If you need additional time to post this month's recipe feel free to post the first week of September. 


A Proper Trifle
from Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant, Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks

A Proper Custard
1 1/2 C heavy cream
5 egg yolks
3 T superfine or granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Cake/Fruit Layer
5 C broken pieces pound cake or sponge cake
raspberry jam
1/8-1/4 C sherry
1 1/2 C fresh (or frozen) raspberries or blackberries
1 large banana

1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
1/4 C slivered almonds, lightly toasted

To make the custard, heat the cream in a small saucepan, taking care that it does not scorch. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. When the cream is hot, pour it into the bowl with the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return the custard to the saucepan and stir constantly on low heat until thickened, but do not let it boil (*see my note below). Remove it from the heat and cool. 

To assemble the trifle, spread the pieces of cake with a thin layer of jam.  Put the pieces in a large bowl. (Clear glass or crystal is traditional.) Sprinkle the sherry and berries over the cake and stir. Don't bother to thaw the frozen berries ; theres less mess if they're still frozen. Peel and thinly slice the banana. Stir it in with the cake and berries. Drizzle the custard over the top. Don't expect to cover and completely encase the cake and fruit mix. 

Spread the whipped cream over the trifle. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. 

A british trifle differs from the American version with only one layer of cake and fruit mixed together. Feel free to assemble however you like substituting fruits in season and available to you. 

*Note: When cooking your custard, don't overcook it on the stovetop. Remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to thicken like pudding. This step usually happens quickly so keep an eye on it! 

Some links to fantastic pound cakes:
Paula Deen (where large amounts of butter are accepted!)
Ina Garten's Lemon Pound Cake (who says you can't have lemon?)
Buttermilk Pound Cake, All Recipes

August 8, 2010

This cake is special. I finally had a chance make the cake yesterday and was completely pleased with the results. We have two in the family that are not crazy about ginger, but even they enjoyed the cake. The flavors worked nicely together: the ginger and the caramel sauce. The fresh ginger was pleasant, not overwhelming. The cake was exceptionally moist. The caramel was lovely and I will make it again for a topping on other recipes. This cake deserves to be shown off and I look forward to serving this for dinner guests in the future!

August 3, 2010

Ginger Cake!
The recipe for this cake was mouthwatering just to read it. I can only imagine how wonderful this dessert must be from the original restaurant. The recipe, though it had a lot of ingredients, was easy to follow and made for a very tasty batter! I brought my friend Amy along for the ride on the day I decided to make it. So while we discussed life matters, we baked! It was a fun afternoon.
The cake turned out well and tasted great. Our only tragedy of the day was not watching the carmel closely. It took a very long time to reach the appropriate temperature and I knew we should watch it closely when the temperature began to rise, but we got busy talking and before we knew it, it was black. We were both heart broken! But, that was solved with a plate of cake. I probably disgraced the cake's creator by adding store-bought carmel as the topping, but it was still delicious! It will definitely be my birthday cake in October!

August 1, 2010

Ginger Cake!

I made the ginger cake and liked it very much! Thanks for another great recipe! Check out my full post on the Lovely Lady Baker blog.

July 30, 2010

Chow's Ginger Cake

As always, I start to make the recipes from the cOven with some trepidation, and this one as much as any – probably because it was an attempt to recreate a particular dessert from a particular restaurant – and one that had been showered with glowing praise.

And I had decided that I was going to attempt to make it gluten-free, as my partner is a bit wheat-intolerant. Plus, since corn syrup is hard to find in Australia, I was going to substitute golden syrup and use whatever molasses I could find. (In the end, I think it may have been blackstrap after all, after the recipe advised not to use that!).

I had intended to cook this earlier in the week, but when we decided to have a lovely dinner at home on Friday night, it seemed the perfect dessert after home-made prawn cutlets, and roast chicken and vegies for main.

It was easy to make, though I found the order of doing some things intriguing. I had to cook it a bit longer than suggested, possibly because of the gluten-free flour, or the fact that my oven is getting old.

And it was delicious. The two types of ginger and other spices made it a bit sharp, set off by the caramel sauce. I didn’t have the energy for making the special cream (nor does my waistline need it either!) We had it with natural yoghurt – which also worked really well!

It was really great. My partner said that he thought it was really lovely too!

And there is more for dessert tonight & tomorrow!

July 28, 2010

Best of Intentions

Well, there I was, almost 38 weeks pregnant and feeling pretty good. Looking forward to making a fabulous ginger cake to take to a friend's dinner party this weekend. It was going to be great.

...and then...last night...I sneezed. And all my hopes were dashed.

Turns out I pulled a muscle in my back, if you can believe it. Who does that? Apparently pregnant women in their 38th week do that, all the time. And so the ginger cake, I'm afraid, is not going to be made this month. I can barely breathe deeply; never mind trying to whip and mix and bake a 3 component cake. Sigh.

But I've been so very delinquent in my blogging in the last couple months, despite the fact that I've been baking! So I thought that my time recuperating from my fateful sneeze could be spent blogging about baked goods passed. So here we go...

May: Free For All

I made April's recipe for my freebie.
Check out my fruit tart!

This was my very first fruit tart ever. And I was really pleased with the recipe. It was very straight forward and almost fool-proof. What amazed me was how quickly the pastry cream turned from soupy to custard. I looked away for a second, and there it was. Yum.

I was a bit intimidated by the idea of arranging the fruit, but I think it turned out pretty well. And well, as my mom always says, it all tastes the same in your stomach!

June: Crepes

For the first time in a while, Jay and I were able to wake up late on a Saturday morning. And it was a beautiful Saturday morning, for that matter. So obviously, it was the perfect opportunity to make a special breakfast: Spinach, portabello mushroom and gruyere crepes and dessert crepes with varying combinations of strawberries, honey-sweetened ricotta cheese and nutella. Dessert after breakfast--can't beat that.

July 6, 2010

July Recipe: Chow's Ginger Cake

This month's recipe was chosen by Gretchen. The recipe for Ginger Cake below is her absolute favorite dessert. It comes from a great restaurant here in San Francisco, CHOW, and the recipe was published by SF Gate who also admire chef Tony Gulisano's recipe. Gretchen is challenging us to replicate this dessert and "attempt to achieve the gooey, moist, delicious consistency that Chow achieves every time". 

There are three components to the recipe - the cake, caramel and whipped cream. If you read through the SFGate article, it suggests serving it with Vanilla Ice Cream, or Pumpkin Ice Cream like Chow does, but the recipe only calls for whipped cream. Feel free to make your own ice cream in addition to this months recipe if you have the equipment. Try also to stick as close to the original as possible so we can see who makes the gooiest cake possible. Sorry to those of you who don't live in San Francisco and have no frame of reference for this cake (I haven't eaten here yet so I'm just as clueless). But, I have a feeling you will be able to make it.... and possibly even enjoy it. If you need to make adjustments for dietary restrictions feel free. Here is one source for substitutions

Remember to post during the last week of the month and by the 31st. Looking forward to seeing your cakes!

Credit: Craig Lee / Special to The Chronicle; styled by Julia Mitchell

Chow's Ginger Cake with Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream
SF Gate, courtesy of Chow Restaurant, San Francisco
Printer Friendly Version

The secrets:

Two kinds of ginger: Loads of fresh ginger, backed by the powdered product, gives the cake a fresh spike of flavor. Dark molasses: This adds a rich, earthy element to the blend. Warming before serving: While the cake is good cold, it tastes even better gently reheated in the oven. Caramel sauce: The caramel adds a pleasant dose of sweetness and sets this cake apart. Serves 16
Ginger cakeButter and flour to prepare pan
2 ounces ginger, peeled and finely grated on a Microplane (about 3 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup rice bran oil or other neutral flavored oil
3/4 cup dark molasses (see Note)
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon baking soda
Caramel sauce1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy whipping cream at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
Whipped cream1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, + more to garnish
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 9- by 9-inch cake pan and dust very lightly with flour or line with parchment paper (see Note).
Combine ginger with 1/2 tablespoon water in a mixing bowl; add sugar, oil and molasses. Mix on low speed. Add eggs; continue mixing at low speed until fully incorporated.
Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, white pepper, ground ginger and baking soda in another mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients slowly to the egg mixture, continuing to beat slowly, scraping mixing bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium for 2 minutes. Scrape; decrease speed to low and slowly add 3/4 cup hot tap water. Mix until just combined, occasionally scraping. (The batter will be slightly thin.)
Pour into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
For the caramel sauce: In a medium-size stainless steel pot, combine sugar and 1 3/4 cups hot water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add corn syrup and cream of tartar; mix. Wipe down the inside of the pot with a wet towel to remove any sugar crystals. If needed, also brush inside of pot just once with a wet pastry brush. Bring to a boil over high heat without stirring, until mixture becomes a deep caramel color or a candy thermometer reaches 335°.
Remove pot from heat and immediately add cream in a slow stream while stirring (be careful - it will pop and sputter). Whisk in salt and the butter, a little at a time.
The caramel sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated. Carefully reheat in a water bath or in a microwave before using. Makes approximately 2 cups.

For the whipped cream: Vigorously whisk cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar in a cold bowl until the cream reaches soft peaks. You want the cream to be relatively soft so it can slowly run over the sides of the cake. Makes about 2 cups; refrigerate leftovers to use another time.
To finish: (At Chow, the cake is cut into 2-inch squares and reheated 2 1/2 minutes in a 350° oven.) Place the cake square in a shallow bowl, top with caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Note: If you plan to turn the cake out of the pan before cutting, also use the parchment paper, which helps the cake release more easily. Dark molasses (also labeled "full") is more intensely flavored and less sweet than light or mild molasses. Avoid using blackstrap, which is less sweet and has a stronger flavor than dark molasses.