Have you ever heard of a spa treatment inspiring a cake? Me neither until it happened to me.
It started in Ubud, Bali, with a two hour massage and body treatment for the ridiculously low price of 29 Australian dollars. The treatment was called Bali Boreh. Turns out that Boreh is a mixture of powdered spices, rice and mosai wood, and it has the stranges effect on the skin. First, it gives a senastion of deep cold- very strange in an open spa pavillion in the tropics. Then, after 15 minutes or so, the sensation evolves to one of rich warmth. Wonderful, but not as wonderful as the smell. Ginger, cloves, pepper and other spices meld together and give a scent of christmassy cookies and of fresh beeswax. Obviously this had to become a cake.
Back home again in the wintry cold of Melbourne Town, I set to work. Ginger, cloves, black pepper, cardamom and nutmeg went into a classic “sand” cake’ which is made with rice flour, giving a slightly gritty crunch to the otherwise fluffy butter cake. On top, to evoke that beeswax scent I remembered, I made a honey and butter caramel, spiked with more ginger and thick with coconut.
So good. If you like spice cake, you’ll love this. It’s so simple to make, but the flavours are complex and wonderfully warm. Youll be needing more than one piece at a time, and its fun putting gourmet friends to the test of spotting all the flavours.
Bali Boreh Spice Cake
makes a 20cm square cake
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup golden caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup milk
Line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift over the flours and spices, and add the milk. Mix to incorporate, then beat until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.
While the cake is still warm, spread with the warm coconut caramel, and smooth the surface.
60g salted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup fine dessicated coconut
1 tsp ground ginger
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. The mixture should be thick, but still flowing.