You guys may have noticed that nobody has much of a sweet tooth at our house, but when I saw Mary's recipe for ginger almond bread the other day, I couldn't resist. A batter redolent of sugar, butter, and eggs, plus a massive amount of fresh ginger and a scattering of almonds? Yes. I can do that.
Of course, I had to change the recipe just a little. This is more of a cake than a bread, to my mind, with a dense, moist crumb and a delicate sweetness. So let's change the title first, shall we?
We don't generally have either sour cream or milk around, but we do have lots of plain yogurt. This was not Greek yogurt, but ordinary semi-runny yogurt. So I switched out the original 1/3 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup milk for 1/2 cup yogurt and a splash--probably 1/8 cup--of water. I also used vanilla instead of almond extract, because we bake seldom enough that we don't actually own any almond extract.
The original recipe also called for 1 full cup of fresh ginger. WOW. That is some serious punch. I didn't actually end up measuring how much chopped ginger I got from my 5-inch root--I just peeled and finely chopped the whole thing. I'm guessing I used about 3/4 cup total. I think using the full cup would still be great, though, so I'm keeping that as the official measurement.
Finally, because I am a lazy baker, I made the entire cake batter in one bowl, with no pre-sifting of dry ingredients. This worked out fine (it nearly always does). If you are a more careful baker, you may want to mix all the dry ingredients together before you add them, but hey! Do whatever works for you.
Ginger Almond Yogurt
3/4 cup room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh ginger
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
extra almonds for garnish
First, preheat your oven to 350F/175C. Butter a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Or you can just butter and flour the pan if you prefer.
Prep your ginger before starting the whole baking process. Peel your ginger using the spoon trick (just scrape it with a teaspoon & the skin will come off), and chop it as finely as you like. If your almonds are whole, slice them up as well. It's certainly faster to just buy sliced almonds, though.
Cream the butter with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt and mix until smooth, scraping the bowl down as needed. Then mix in your eggs (I added mine all at once) and vanilla.
Add your ginger and almonds to the batter, folding them in with a spatula. Sprinkle the baking powder and salt over the top of the batter and fold them in gently but thoroughly. Then add the flour, one cup at a time. After each addition, fold gently with the spatula until the flour is thoroughly incorporated with the wet batter. No overmixing!
Pour and scrape your batter into your prepared loaf pan. The batter will smell great, but try not to eat too much, ok? Spread a couple handfuls of additional almonds over the top.
Bake for approximately one hour, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I actually did not have an eye on the clock at all while baking, so I'm not quite sure of the time I needed, but it was in the general neighborhood of one hour.
Let cool in the pan for about 15-30 minutes before removing. (This is why I like parchment paper--you can just lift it up and the cake comes out perfectly intact.) Then cool the finished cake to room temperature on a wire rack.
Now you can eat cake! Eat it with coffee. Eat it with tea. Eat it for breakfast, certainly. The finished cake is dense enough that you can walk out the door with a slice on your way to work, no problem.
What else might you want to put in this cake? Grated lemon zest might be a nice idea. Dried cranberries or apricots might work. Chopped dried cherries could definitely work. I think I'd reduce the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup if I added fruit, though, since it'd tip the balance toward more sweetness.