Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's just the thing: Sticky and Spicy

I love all seasons. Summer is adventures and relaxing, sipping lemonade on hazy hot days, and endless afternoons. Spring is rejuvenation and long city walks outdoors, extra cups of coffee and excitement growing about farmer market season. Autumn is routines and brisk walks to work warmed by steaming tea and coffee, biting into crisp apples and hearty pumpkin stews. And winter. Winter is snow walks and hot chocolate, stirring pots of homemade rice pudding and shameless weekends spent in pjs. That's where I am today. It's past noon and I haven't changed out of my fuzzy socks and sweatpants, nor have I stepped foot outside into the icy flurrying skies during these last days of winter.

Although I've done my fair share of moaning about the cold weather, I still love winter. And I also love winter flavours. Yesterday, I noticed a lonesome jar of homemade marmalade in the back of the freezer and decided to pull it out to play with today. Marmalade on English muffins would have been a good breakfast, but I wanted to put it to use in a cake that I know I'd be craving later in the day. This beautiful sticky gingerbread cake is just the thing. Sticky and spicy, almost fudgy yet light and fluffy at the same time. It's vegan and made with spelt flour and a lot of ground ginger. It's got a big dollop of homemade marmalade in it, and just a whisper of dark cocoa powder to bring out all the spices. It's just thing to have with tea or coffee while you watch the flurries float down over the balcony and wait for spring to peak around the corner.

Sticky Marmalade Spice Cake
adapted from Bittersweet

1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of molasses
1/3 cup of marmalade (preferably homemade)
1/4 cup of apple butter (or apple sauce)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of spelt flour
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
2 T cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
a pinch each of grated nutmeg and black pepper

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, molasses, marmalade, apple butter, olive oil and brown sugar until well combined.

2. Sift in the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda and all the spices. Mix gently and until just combined. Don't over mix.

3. Pour the batter into a prepared cake pan (I used a 9inch round pan) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is springy to touch and a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

4. Serve with a spicy chai tea, strong coffee or a few slices of clementines. ;)

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