Drambuie cake with crystallized ginger and chocolate chips

Drambuie ginger cake

Drambuie ginger cake

For as long as I can remember, David has liked to collect shards of pottery and porcelain. He’ll find small pieces of pots and plates in creek beds and river banks and tree roots, and even in the dirt in our backyard. Sometimes they have patterns painted on or worked right into the clay. Sometimes they have a little curve to them, and you can try to guess at the form of the pot from whence they came. Last time we were at our local antiques flea market, we came across a fellow selling a whole box of shards of pottery and porcelain. David said that it struck him as funny that he would never buy a shard of pottery, no matter how nice it looked, but if he’d found one, he’d never part with it. Well! Predictably, I love this. So often we value something, we consider it valuable, because somebody has set a price to it. A painting is only worth thousands or even millions of dollars because some art dealer has decided that they can persuade someone to pay that much money for it. This is true of practically everything around us…we’re consumers, and everything has a price. It’s like some absurd sort of game with nonsensical rules in which we all agree to accept abstract ideas of worth and to give meaning to meaningless numbers. Sometimes, though, there’s more joy in finding something or making something–even if that thing is imperfect or incomplete, Maybe especially if that thing is imperfect or incomplete, because you can imagine the rest of it, and when you imagine something it’s completely yours. When you think about it this way, when you think about how precious a small shard of pottery can be, it’s like tearing away the scaffolding that holds up the whole ridiculous system, so that we can understand that nothing is better for being bloated with money, and that maybe price is not the best way to assess value.

We don’t usually drink much besides wine with dinner or an occasional beer with punjabi mix, but every once in a while we’ll invent a strange and delightful drink. Usually this involves ginger beer, because we love ginger beer. Recently, we tried ginger beer and drambuie. It was really good! Sweet but refreshing, with a nice kick to it. I added some fresh lemon to mine, because I like everything with lemon. This cake was inspired by that experiment. It’s flavored with drambuie and a little powdered ginger, and it has chopped crystallized ginger mixed into the batter. It was really good! Oh yeah, and it has chocolate chips, because everything should have chocolate chips. The second time I made it I glazed it with a mix of powdered sugar and drambuie, but that’s not pictured here. I made the cake in my smallish deepish new old French cake pan. You could make it in a normal 8 or 9-inch cake pan, and it will be just as good, but flatter. And it might not need to cook as long.

Here’s Belle and Sebastian with For the Price of a Cup of Tea.

3 eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t powdered ginger
3 T drambuie
6 T very soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped quite fine

For glaze

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T drambuie

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter and flour a cake pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light, frothy and lemon-colored. Whisk in the powdered sugar.

Stir in the flour, salt and powdered ginger, and beat until light and fluffy.

Stir in the drambuie and the butter, beating until the butter is completely incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and the ginger.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the cake is golden on top and springs back when you press on it. Let cool, remove from the pan.

If you’d like a drambuie glaze, mix the powdered sugar and enough drambuie to make it about as thick as light cream. Pour this over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Allow to set.

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6 thoughts on “Drambuie cake with crystallized ginger and chocolate chips

  1. Your price-of-everything-value-of-nothing musings have great resonance for my life as a Sasha doll collector. We collect invest the dolls with meaning and value (note the word ‘invest’) but in fact they have no intrinsic value, or very little. But we have become entranced with them and the oldest dolls are the rarest, the ones with the most variety and the ones that that had care taken with them when they were produced, before the factory went over to production methods that were cheaper so that they could produce more and sell more. (I have recently bought a doll that any sane person would say was RIDICULOUS expensive!…Has David visited the Parc Guell in Barcelona, I wonder, where Gaudí embellished his designs with bits of broken china?

    I’m strangely excited by the idea of putting Drambuie in a cake, I must say!

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