I know you are wondering what makes this ginger cake so cute. It wasn't baked in a 9" cake pan. It wasn't stacked and filled with butter cream, or cream cheese frosting. Heck there was not even powdered sugar on top!
So what made this cake so friggin special? Is the story behind it.
When I was a "new baker" a customer from my day job (Bob) asked if I could make him a special cake. I said I would certainly try my best to follow the given recipe, and complete his request. It was a recipe for Pear Gingerbread (cake), and it had some things in the recipe that I had never used before. Things like fresh ginger root, pears, and mustard (that one was weird)! Items that now I would never even think twice about. I digress, however; that I was naive enough to think I could omit the fresh ginger, and double on the ground ginger. I had purchased CANNED pears under the ruse that they were sufficient enough of a product. I did not even pat them dry from the juice in the can. As for the mustard I plain old never put it in the darn cake. Why would I? Who puts mustard in cake?
Thinking I was a super clever "new baker" the end result did not end awful, but it wasn't my best work. I decided that one 9" cake was enough to cut and stack leaving me with thin layers. The canned pears caused the cake to be unbelievably wet, and cutting the thing was an interesting adventure to be sure. My next step was frosting. The recipe did not call for one so I opted for a cream cheese frosting to compliment the other spices such as cinnamon. The over all look of this cake was sad at best. Also a little lop sided. To top it off I had some store bought gold sugary glittery drizzle that I put on top to give it some color. After Bob (sweetest old man in the world) see's the cake he praises me for my attempt. While deep down I know it wasn't my all. He then continues to tell me that the recipe he gave me was his wife's recipe. His beloved wife that had passed away from cancer a few years prior. This was the first time he has had the cake since her passing. TALK ABOUT PRESSURE! He told me that he would be bringing it to a family gathering with his children to also take part in their mothers recipe. My heart fell to the floor, and I wished I could start again. I wanted to take the cake back. Tell him to come back in a few hours. Reset button! That wish did not come true. Bob's family ate the cake that evening, and they were very polite about the whole thing. I, however; was beside myself.
Redemption time! A year later Bob and I are chatting about Flour and Lead. Attempting to support me new en devour he places an order for a cake of some kind to bring to a holiday party. I immediately think of The Pear Ginger cake, and beg for a second chance to make this right. Of course he tells me nothing was wrong with the first one, but I continued in my lobbying for a redo.I NEEDED to prove myself to him despite his stead fast support of everyone he meets. Thankfully, he happily obliges, and questions pour out of me. "What frosting did his wife used to put on it?" ,"How many tiers does she normally make?", "Is there anything else special I can do for it?"
The answers were "None", "None", and "No". His wife simple would bake the cake. Take it from the oven, and allow it to cool. Serve with whipped cream if desired. That's it! Not even powdered sugar!
How do I make that memorable? How do I spark that little light inside to trigger happy memories as well as make something I was proud to put the Flour and Lead name on? I was what felt like a momentary impasse. That was until I simply decide to stop over complicating things, and use a well designed bundt pan. (DUH)
Using ALL of the ingredients this time. Fresh ginger. Fresh Pears, and even stone ground mustard I followed every single part of the recipe to the T. 3 dirty bowls, and a bunch of other dirty dishes later The results were delightful! Not only did it smell amazing, I was completely happy with everything. From the texture of the batter to the ease of removal from the pan. A to Z.
When Bob picked up the cake this time I believed him when he told me it tasted wonderful, and asked if I could bake him another one the following week. He also suggested I make a cupcake for myself so I could taste it. I couldn't believe it! How wonderfully full my heart felt to bake something that would bring back some of the memories he shared with his wife. To be apart of a story that was ended to soon. It was a beautiful piece of Flour and Lead history, and I am so honored to have been entrusted with the recipe that he has kept for all of these years despite his inability to bake. I can not put into words how much that means to me. I know for certain that I will make Bob his Pear Ginger cake any time he asks for one. I will also ALWAYS follow the recipe from the start. I will never know everything about baking, but This is why I bake! I bake to make you smile, to make you happy, and maybe to make you remember.