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Cider and 5-Spice Bundt Cake

by . Featured in SIMPLY NIGELLA
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Introduction

Most of the time I refer to this as my Cider and 5-Spice Gingerbread, but I changed the name out of concern for those who expect a little more gingeriness from their gingerbead (although anyone is free to boost the amount of ginger at will). But, actually, the tender crumb has the lightness of a cake rather than the damp heaviness (gorgeous though that is) of a gingerbread. Besides, I felt it only proper to accord the magnificently aromatic 5-spice seasoning its star role. I have since found that there are many variants of 5-spice powder out there. While generally I presume on a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds, I also love the versions that have liquorice and dried mandarin peel. But what I’ve found is that all types work, even the one or two brands that erroneously add garlic: a couple of people (one here, and one in the States) have made it with this version, and both vouch that the garlic is not detectable. Still, when you’re shopping, it’s best to check the ingredients label and go for one without garlic if you can.

Either way, this is wonderful enough plain as it is, though I have something of a faiblesse for the gleaming accompaniment of Salted Caramel Sauce.

Most of the time I refer to this as my Cider and 5-Spice Gingerbread, but I changed the name out of concern for those who expect a little more gingeriness from their gingerbead (although anyone is free to boost the amount of ginger at will). But, actually, the tender crumb has the lightness of a cake rather than the damp heaviness (gorgeous though that is) of a gingerbread. Besides, I felt it only proper to accord the magnificently aromatic 5-spice seasoning its star role. I have since found that there are many variants of 5-spice powder out there. While generally I presume on a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds, I also love the versions that have liquorice and dried mandarin peel. But what I’ve found is that all types work, even the one or two brands that erroneously add garlic: a couple of people (one here, and one in the States) have made it with this version, and both vouch that the garlic is not detectable. Still, when you’re shopping, it’s best to check the ingredients label and go for one without garlic if you can.

Either way, this is wonderful enough plain as it is, though I have something of a faiblesse for the gleaming accompaniment of Salted Caramel Sauce.

Cider and 5-Spice Bundt Cake
Photo by Keiko Oikawa

Ingredients

Serves: 10-14 slices

Metric Cups
  • 250 millilitres cider (preferably dry or at least not sweet)
  • 175 millilitres sunflower oil
  • 100 grams soft dark brown sugar
  • 300 grams black treacle (use an oiled 250ml/1-cup measure for ease)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 piece fresh root ginger (peeled and finely grated to give 2 teaspoons)
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2½ teaspoons chinese five spice powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • nonstick spray (or sunflower oil for greasing)
  • 1 cup hard cider (preferably dry or at least not sweet)
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup black molasses (use an oiled 250ml/1-cup measure for ease)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ inches piece fresh gingerroot (peeled and finely grated to give 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2½ teaspoons chinese five spice powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • nonstick spray (or sunflower oil for greasing)

Method

You will need: 1 x 10-cup (2.5 litre capacity) bundt tin/pan or 1 x 20cm/8-inch square cake tin approx. 5.5cm/2 ¼-inches deep

  1. Open the cider so that it loses its fizz. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF, and grease your bundt tin with non-stick cooking spray, or simply oil it, and leave the tin upside down on a piece of newspaper or baking parchment while you get on with the batter.
  2. Measure the oil, brown sugar and (whether you’re weighing it or going for volume and using a cup measure, always lightly oil the receptacle for the treacle first and it will slide out easily) black treacle into a bowl.
  3. Pour in the cider and crack in the eggs, add the ginger and beat till smooth. While I use a freestanding mixer to make this cake, it’s simple enough by hand: in which case, beat the eggs together first before adding to the other ingredients.
  4. In another bowl measure out the flour, baking powder, bicarb, nutmeg, 5-spice and cinnamon, and fork through to combine.
  5. Gently tip the dry ingredients into the wet treacly mixture, beating as you go to make a smooth batter. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl well to make sure there aren’t any pockets of flour.
  6. Pour the dark and aromatic batter into the prepared tin: it will be very runny, but don’t be alarmed. Place in the oven to bake: if using the bundt tin it will need 45–50 minutes, but start checking after 40. If using the square tin, it will need 50–55 minutes’ baking. When the cake’s ready, it will start to come away from the sides of the tin and a cake tester should come out clean; that’s to say, not wet, but with some crumbs adhering to it. Transfer the bundt to a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then use your fingers to help prise the cake away from the edges of the tin, most particularly around the funnel, and turn out. Leave to cool completely before wrapping, first in parchment and then foil, as it tastes best if eaten the next day. I don’t always manage this.

You will need: 1 x 10-cup (2.5 litre capacity) bundt tin/pan or 1 x 20cm/8-inch square cake tin approx. 5.5cm/2 ¼-inches deep

  1. Open the hard cider so that it loses its fizz. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF, and grease your bundt tin with non-stick cooking spray, or simply oil it, and leave the tin upside down on a piece of newspaper or baking parchment while you get on with the batter.
  2. Measure the oil, brown sugar and (whether you’re weighing it or going for volume and using a cup measure, always lightly oil the receptacle for the treacle first and it will slide out easily) black molasses into a bowl.
  3. Pour in the hard cider and crack in the eggs, add the ginger and beat till smooth. While I use a freestanding mixer to make this cake, it’s simple enough by hand: in which case, beat the eggs together first before adding to the other ingredients.
  4. In another bowl measure out the flour, baking powder, bicarb, nutmeg, 5-spice and cinnamon, and fork through to combine.
  5. Gently tip the dry ingredients into the wet treacly mixture, beating as you go to make a smooth batter. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl well to make sure there aren’t any pockets of flour.
  6. Pour the dark and aromatic batter into the prepared tin: it will be very runny, but don’t be alarmed. Place in the oven to bake: if using the bundt tin it will need 45–50 minutes, but start checking after 40. If using the square tin, it will need 50–55 minutes’ baking. When the cake’s ready, it will start to come away from the sides of the tin and a cake tester should come out clean; that’s to say, not wet, but with some crumbs adhering to it. Transfer the bundt to a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then use your fingers to help prise the cake away from the edges of the tin, most particularly around the funnel, and turn out. Leave to cool completely before wrapping, first in parchment and then foil, as it tastes best if eaten the next day. I don’t always manage this.

Additional Information

STORE NOTE: The cake can be kept loosely wrapped in its parchment and foil, in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 week.

FREEZE NOTE: The fully cooled cake can be tightly wrapped in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil and then frozen for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap and place on a wire rack and leave at room temperature for about 5 hours.

STORE NOTE: The cake can be kept loosely wrapped in its parchment and foil, in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 week.

FREEZE NOTE: The fully cooled cake can be tightly wrapped in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil and then frozen for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap and place on a wire rack and leave at room temperature for about 5 hours.

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What 2 Others have said

  • You serve this as savoury cake, so maybe with cheese perhaps?

    Posted by 3caramel7 on 4th December 2017
  • Made this on the weekend and it was a winner. Especially with a scoop of ice-cream. Kerry

    Posted by Selvedgesisters on 23rd November 2015
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