First up in the holiday baking lineup: candied-ginger pound cake with a vanilla crackle crust. Sounds complicated; it isn’t. Simply chop 1/2 cup crystallized ginger in the food processor–pulse until the chunks are 1/4 inch or smaller, then toss in a tablespoon or two of flour and pulse again to flour-coat the ginger morsels. (Flour-coating keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.) Fold the ginger into a plain pound cake batter, just before spreading it into a greased pan. Next, make the crackle crust: combine a teaspoon of vanilla extract, two tablespoons of sugar, and enough water (a tiny amount) to make a slurry. Spoon this mixture over the cake batter, and bake as usual.
The results are delicious; the cake is deeply browned at the edges, studded with slightly chewy nuggets that deliver a gingery bite in each slice. Plain is great, but spreading each slice with homemade meyer lemon curd elevates it to nearly divine. Isn’t this season’s focus supposed to be the divine?