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.
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