Friday, 1 April 2011

The First Day of...

It’s the first day of:  the month of April; the first day of the 2nd quarter of 2011; the only day of the month that I can write the first blog of the month.    
The alarm went off at 7:00 a.m., as it does everyday.  I got up to take my medicine. 
As I was pouring water into the glass, I looked at the coffee pot, and thought, “A fresh pot of coffee to wake up to...”  That set me into motion with the coffee maker.  As I was scooping coffee grounds into the coffee-maker basket, I remembered that My Midnight Man had told me that his best-mate, “Jon-David” was stopping by sometime this morning to drop off some stuff for us. 
According to MMM, I have promised “Jon-David” three cakes.  So, an opportunity to make a cake for him was clearly present.  When MMM told me last night that “Jon-David” was coming, I’d decided then that I would stay up at 7:00 .m. and bake the cake. 
The water matriculated through the machine and the scent of coffee filled the air while I climbed onto a chair to get a tin in which to bake the treat.  One of the great ideas I came up with was to bake goodies in biscuit tins, so I can give the recipient something with the cake/biscuits in a storable container.  And, if they bring it back, I will fill it up again!
A large lemon and a bit of fresh ginger inspired me.  I knew a lemon and ginger cake with Chinese Five Spice would smell good whilst it baked.  
Substitutions:  If you can’t find Chinese Five Spice prepared in store, it consists of Star Anise, Cinnamon, Fennel, Black Pepper and Cloves.  
If you don’t have Condensed Milk, but have powdered milk, use twice the amount of powder to the water.  This works really well.   
If you plan to use Buttermilk in stead of condensed milk, but don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute Plain Yogurt.  This is what I usually do.  If using Buttermilk/Yogurt, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the recipe.

This is my own recipe, so I do hope you’ll enjoy it.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,  "Lady Helene"

2 ¼  cups flour
¾ cups /6 oz white sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powders
¾ cups/6 oz soft brown sugar-loosely packed
1 teaspoon Salt
½ cup/4 oz shortening
1 ½  heaped teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
¼ cup/2 oz butter/margarine
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 inch fresh ginger—grated
Zest and Juice of 1 small lemon or ½ large lemon
3 eggs   
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 fl. Oz condensed milk or buttermilk
1)       Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4.
2)      Prepare cake tins by greasing and flouring.
3)      Zest and juice the lemon.  Remove the seeds, but leave any pulp.
4)      Grate the fresh ginger.  Mix into bowl with lemon juice and zest.  Set to side.
5)      Sift together flour, baking powders, salt, Chinese Five Spice and ground ginger.  Set aside.
6)      In a large bowl, place shortening, butter (margarine) and stir to soften.
7)      Add in white and brown sugar, mixing until sugar and well mixed in and the mixture is fluffy.
8)      Add vanilla to milk and slowly add the milk in.  Mix well.
9)      Add in 1/3 of flour, mixing well.  Add in one egg and mix well.  Repeat adding flour mix and eggs, alternating.  Once it is all added, mix at medium speed for about one minute.
10)   Pour batter into prepared cake tin.  For two nine-inch cakes, bake about 30 minutes.  For larger tin, bake for about 45 minutes.  Cake is done when toothpick stuck in middle is clean, and sides pull away from the tin.
11)   After cooling about five to ten minutes, remove from cake pans if you are intending to add icing.

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