Spiced Crystallized Ginger Cake
For the cake:
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, tossed
with 1 Tbs. flour
For the glaze:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbs. rum
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease and flour a rosette cake pan or a 9-by-13-inch cake pan.
To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves; repeat until well blended. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until blended. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating each addition until incorporated before adding more, until the mixture is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes; stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the fresh ginger, vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce the speed to low and fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, until just blended and no lumps of flour remain. Then fold in the crystallized ginger.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are slightly higher than the center. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool the cake upright in the pan for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the granulated sugar and water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum.
Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper and remove the cake from the pan. (If using a 9-by-13-inch pan, keep the cake in the pan.) Generously brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.