Today I attended an end-of-summer beach clean-up. It’s really exhausting work, trudging across miles of monotonous white sand, bending over every few steps to snag a cigarette butt or little morsel of plastic. At one point, I was crouched down on the wet sand, poring through a clump of sea vegetation to remove a few little bits of trash, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. A blond woman in a pink sweater stood over me. She said, “I know you’re working really hard, but if you just look over there…” we stood up and I followed the line of her finger to view the glittering blue sea. Just beyond the boogie boarders floating close to shore, a smooth, dark lump emerged out of the surf, followed by more. Atop each sleek lump was a noble dorsal fin. “Awesome,” I said. Real wild dolphins, right near the shore, greeting us beach-goers. Now that is what makes beach clean-ups worthwhile. I want to preserve the habitat of such amazing creatures as dolphins. And I really want people to stop leaving cigarette butts at the beach! Please?
Summer has got to be my favorite season of the year. Needless to say, it is officially over. Days are getting shorter and yada yada yada… ugh, I can’t stand the cold, bitter time of year that is coming! With that said, autumn does have a few redeeming qualities. For one, there are a few fun holidays. For another, it’s time to break out the cozy autumn recipes!
I’ve had this mission to make some kind of ginger cake ever since my mom described how she used to love going to a certain bakery and ordering their amazing gingerbread cake. If my mom can speak so adoringly about a dessert that wasn’t even chocolate, it must be really good.
I haven’t baked much with ginger before, but I decided to try out this awesome fall spice in a yummy breakfast cake. Not only is ginger flavorful, it is packed with a number of surprising heath benefits! Ginger has been known since ancient times to be soothing to the intestinal tract. New research suggests it also provides some of the benefits of antioxidants, and can fight inflammation. The other spices in this cake are nutritious as well. Cinnamon can help prevent blood vessel clotting, and can help the digestive system. It also provides important nutrients such as iron, potassium, and calcium. Cloves contain many of the same health benefits of ginger and cinnamon including the digestive aid and the antioxidant properties.
The orange flavor goes well with spices like ginger. I dreamed of an orange-ginger cake with a thick white chocolate frosting on top, sprinkled with colorful dried fruits to create a festive feast for the eyes and the palate.
As it turned out, the frosting became more like glaze, and the brown sugar flavor is what stood out, more than the white chocolate. But I find the glaze is a really delicious, light finish to the satisfying orange spiced cake. I don’t know how much the cake I made tastes like my mom’s remembered gingerbread, but personally I like it. It’s sophisticated, tasty and earthy.