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February 2008

Recipe of the Month

Ginger Crunch Cake with Strawberry Sauce
Rock Cottage Gardens...a Bed & Breakfast Inn, Eureka Springs, AR


1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Ginger cake
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Whipped topping
3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 pint strawberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease three 8 x 2 inch cake pans. Make crunch topping: in a small bowl combine crunch topping ingredients, stirring until combined. Divide topping among pans and press evenly onto bottom.

Make ginger cake: In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Add molasses, buttermilk, 1/3 cup sugar, 6 tablespoons butter and egg. Beat on high speed 2 minutes. Carefully spread batter over crunch topping in pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. IMMEDIATELY invert cake layers onto racks lined with wax paper and cool completely.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat 2 cups cream with vanilla and 2 tablespoons sugar until it holds stiff peaks.

Arrange 1 cake layer, crunch side up, on a cake plate and spread with 1 heaping cup whipped cream. Repeat with another layer and cream. Top with third layer, crunch side up. Leaving top plain, spread remaining whipped cream on sides (a final coating will be added later). Chill cake, covered loosely for 4-24 hours.

Hull strawberries and slice half of them. In a bowl with a potato masher, mash sliced berries with lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Puree remaining berries in food processer and strain through a fine sieve into bowl of mashed berry mixture. Sauce can be made 1 day in advance and chilled. Next day, beat remaining cream until stiff and decorate sides of cake. Serve with strawberry sauce and garnish with strawberries.

Serves 12

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