Ginger ‘n’ Honey Oat Crumb Cake

I’ve adapted this recipe from one in Spices & Herbs, Lore & Cookery, which is I think a Dover reprint. If you ever run across it, buy it – it has lots of useful & fascinating information.

The recipe:

  • 1 cup all-purpose wheat flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 cup groats or medium-fine ground oatmeal, could probably substitute steel-cut oats if you wanted (again, I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon (maybe heaping) ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I use butter)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I like turbinado / raw sugar)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup strained honey

Instructions:

  1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Mix in shortening. Combine with dry ingredients until it is a fine crumb-like texture.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup crumbs.
  4. Mix boiling water & honey until smooth. Mix that into the remaining (unreserved) crumbs until smooth. It will be very soupy, but keep stirring.
  5. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Sprinkle crumbs on top. Bake approx 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Comments:

I have to admit, this is one of the weirder recipes I’ve ever made. Turns out real good, but mixes up real weird. The crumb mixture will be very fine. And once you add in the diluted honey, the batter has a consistency of thin soup, somewhere between milk & buttermilk. Yes, it will be noticeably thinner than even buttermilk. Once that gets poured into the loaf pan, sprinkling the crumbs on top just feels kind of weird, more like you are garnishing a soup than making a bread.

Also, this cake turns out very moist & dense.

Original recipe:

My mother has an expression that something is so sweet it will “rot your teeth out”. I never really understood that expression until the first time I made this recipe as it originally appears in Spices & Herbs, Lore & Cookery. To make it that way, take out all the oat products & the all-purpose flour, and instead use 3 cups sifted cake flour. Change the 1/3 cup of turbinado sugar to 1 cup white sugar. And have 1/2 cup thin strips of candied or crystallized ginger to sprinkle on top in addition to the crumbs. Also, the original instructions were to bake 40 minutes at 375.

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