Friday, December 20, 2013

Gingerbread loaf (copycat Starbucks gingerbread loaf)



I find myself in a seasonal quandary the last quarter of the year. Don't we know that Starbucks sells three months of Christmas in steamed cups, all sweet syruped, candycane drenched, salted, foamed, chocolate sprinkled and flecked? Which is absolutely not what I walk through their doors for. My obsession lies behind the glass windows, love I've found in those double rows of sugary displays, with special regard to the topleft corner of neatly stacked treats. The waitallyearlong rings its bell and I cue in for a slab of light copper bread, iced with white and ornamented with golden bits. Yes, Starbucks iced gingerbread lies in wait for me to score off its remaining four slices. I can do without the latte.

I'm not clear if it's only a matter of flavor that catches me, I believe it maybe more so. Perhaps the effects of a cleverly scented (and well marketed) season? You understand how then the peppermint/cinnamon/smellsliketheholidays dial is tuned to its peak in the last three months of the year and your olfactory, in timely fashion, responds tremendously well to that sugarspice window of time. With my SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in full swing, the same condition that demands boxes of glitter-gold ornaments, came a new revelation that those few squares of SB's gingerbread loaf will never and not be enough. So, the idea to googlesearch began, following a viewing of several URLs that held the possibility of impressive imposter creations.

It didn't take much time, really and I stumbled upon it right here. With a smidge of adjustment,  and not demanding a great chunk of time, the recipe created itself, right before my eyes, into this beautiful block of spiced bread. The need to make a second came right after I "tested" my way through the first.

Of course this will offset your  cookies and candy curriculum a bit, no worries though, since it nods to a well understood and tradition oriented coalition of spicecake/cream cheese. And when you get to baking a loaf so intermingled with great notes and quality elements, you create a masterpiece a cut above the original (deemed sacrilege). Moreover, while the world is trying to make sense of ninja gingerfolk, you effortlessly conquer a stupendously delicious and likeminded bread.

My word of caution in this; all Starbucks(!) copycat(!) recipes are not equal, adding elements that may not be needed and eliminating ones that are vital to the cause of an exceptional loaf. The only component that most of these agreed on was the need for natural applesauce (read:make your own) which renders that customised paler than molasses hue and does much in lending to GBloaf's sturdysoft structure. This is intense yet delicate, heated but not aggressive, ending any quest for  outstanding copycat of the year .

As such, sweetened cream cheese amplifies just enough the not so overly sweet cinnamon/ clove/ ginger ensemble. The frosting makes a wee bit more than an actual loaf's spread though I'm not bothered in the least as to what its destiny holds. Lastly is the accessorizing, a top adorned with scatters of sugared bits makes for an utterly gorgeous feast for the eyes.

Will yourself to hide this in the depths of your refrigerator for next day purposes, (or double the batch to compare and contrast). The undertones of spice progressively shine brighter, granding up the show several notches. 

So we reach the end of today's segue, where visions of gingerbread loaves demand out of your heads and into the hollows of your homeovens. And in that there exists much comfort and joy. Now, if you'll excuse me,  I'll go grab that coffee.

For the loaf~
(Adapted from A Cup of Mascarpone)
Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 cup natural applesauce *

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9"x5" bread pan. You can also divide and conquer by using smaller loaf pans/ bakeware; just place them on a large baking tray, as I did.  
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange zest and salt.  Set aside.
  • In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 
  • Stir in vanilla extract. Mix in egg.
  • Combine baking soda into the applesauce. Stir into creamed butter mixture.
  • Add the flour mixture into this and beat until smooth.
  • Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan(s).
  • Bake 40 to 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway during baking, until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  If baking smaller loaves, check at 30 - 35 minutes.
 You'd be bereft of a grand experience if you forgot to smell the air 30 minutes into bake time. The loaf's insane aroma is almost as good as its velvety crumb. 


For the frosting~
Ingredients:
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp orange zest (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp of chopped candied orange peel or crystallized ginger for garnish

Directions:
  • Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add zest and vanilla. Slowly beat in confectioner's sugar and continue on medium speed, until light and fluffy
  • Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting over the top of the loaf/loaves (you might have some extra which I'll leave you to decide the fate of) 
  • Sprinkle frosting with a few pieces of chopped candied orange peel or ginger.
  • Frosting sets well once chilled. Cover the loaf in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for upto 3 days (bets if you get it past day one). 

* Recipe for applesauce~

  • 5 medium apples  peeled, cored, and quartered (I use Fuji or even red delicious)
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp butter
In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil on high heat. Lower to medium and cover for 20-25 minutes until apples are soft and cooked through. Take out cinnamon. Blend with room temperature butter in a blender or with immersion blender.
If you're like me and can't wait, know that it crumbs up a great deal straight from oven. Practice patience and let it do its thing in the fridge for an hour or two. You'll have a firm, rested loaf. 
 I know what would go best with this...a cup of chai. Don't you think? 

Why not give the plumcake a try? You won't be disappointed.
******
"Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“Let God be magnified!” Psalm 70:4(KJV)

12 comments:

  1. Tisa, I think I get the smell of the ginger bread here just by seeing.Looks yum.I hope SB does not see this post :))
    Seeing ur college photo and latest ones pl.. pl.. I beg u :) tell me how do u eat these goodies and not put on wt.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Meena, you are too kind. I actually ate a whole loaf- felt sick afterwards. But it was worth it :)).

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  2. Cake looks so fabulous ! Lovely clicks....

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  3. Wow the loaf looks delicious. I love your bake-ware, they are really cute. My current fav at SB is Cranberry white chocolate Mocha and I have ignored their sugary displays for now ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Rekha. We don't get the cranberry white chocolate as much. I've tried it once and yes, it's also very very nice.

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  4. i second meena in her comment... believe me tisa... u don't seem to age, touchwood!!! people who are really happy and good at heart stay young physically and mentally throughout their life, i guess u belong to that category... :) :)
    on the note of those cakes there... aaah... i don't know why it peeves me when i think of ginger in bakes, but looking at those three cute trays of the fluffed up beauties... i am left to wonder what i am missing... please courier me one, if possible, i hope it reaches me without getting spoiled.. hehe...

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    Replies
    1. You have made my Sunday morning very very bright, girlie! As for ginger in cakes I will make you a believer-it sort of mimics the same spices that go into Kerala plumcake. Anyway if I could send a fresh food parcel to you I would, really :)) Next time when we're in the same city,for sure we will get together. Thanks again for the kind words.

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  5. lovely looking loaf...they hav come out so well , just like SB's :) ...love those cute little loaf pans too..

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  6. Hi dear, I have nominated you for Liebster Award- a blogging award.
    Please collect it from my blog-
    http://secondhelpinginservice.blogspot.in/2014/01/liebster-award.html.
    Nominate others as it is a pass-on award. All the instructions are given. happy blogging :)

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  7. yummy loaf happy to follow u .also view my space http://prachisvegkitchen.blogspot.in

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!