There are so many delicious must-have sweet-treats and desserts floating around at Christmas time (mince pies, fruit cake, Christmas pudding, yule log…) that the classic Gingerbread Cake sometimes gets over-looked. Often, we opt to get our gingerbread fix from baking cookies instead, which ticks a lot of boxes for me. Yet sometimes, I want all those wonderful aromatic gingerbread flavours in something I can really sink my teeth into (and slather in buttercream).
In my opinion, there are two types of gingerbread cake: the sweet and dense sticky one – usually hailing from the sugar and spice isle of Jamaica, a real pudding of a cake (see my recipe here). And the lighter fragrant version with delicate spice that you might happily serve for Afternoon Tea. This particular recipe leans on the lighter side. If you have a slice, it’s not going to weigh you down and it will give you more than enough room to sneak in a mince pie after!
RECIPE: Gingerbread Cake with Custard Frosting
SOURCE: The Kate Tin
FLAVOUR PROFILE: Light, aromatic with ginger spice and creamy frosting.
GOES GREAT WITH: Serve up a slice with your afternoon tea.
NOTES: This cake is best made using two cake tins as it will cook evenly and you won’t get any cracking on the top. However, in the picture below, I was feeling lazy and only used the one tin and sliced the cake in half afterwards. In which case, pour the entire mix into your 18cm cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour 10 minutes. You will need to loosely cover the cake with baking paper after 40 minutes of baking to stop it from browning too much on top.
MAKES: 1 x 18cm cake
For the cake:
- 320g (11.3oz) PLAIN FLOUR
- 2 tsp. BAKING POWDER
- 1/4 tsp. SALT
- 1 tsp. GROUND CARDAMOM
- 135g (4.8oz) BROWN SUGAR
- 130g (4.6oz) BUTTER, softened
- 1.5 tsp. VANILLA EXTRACT
- 10g (0.4oz) GROUND GINGER
- 150ml (5.3oz) MILK
- 115ml (4.1oz) MOLASSES
- 115ml (4.1oz) GOLDEN SYRUP
- 2 EGGS
- 1/2 tsp. GROUND CINNAMON
- 2 tsp. COCOA POWDER
- 1 tsp. ORANGE ZEST
- 1/4 tsp. GROUND CLOVES
For the frosting:
- 170g (6oz) CREAM CHEESE
- 45g (1.6oz) BUTTER, softened
- 15ml (0.5oz) GOLDEN SYRUP
- 300g (10.6oz) POWDERED SUGAR
- 60g (2.1oz) CUSTARD POWDER
- For the cake: Grease and line the bottom of two 18cm cake tins with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180c.
- To a mixing bowl add the FLOUR, BAKING POWDER, SALT, GROUND CARDAMOM, GROUND GINGER, GROUND CINNAMON, GROUND CLOVES and COCOA POWDER. Give it a mix so that everything is evenly incorporated, then set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, cream the BUTTER and SUGAR with an electric whisk for a few minutes. Add the MOLASSES, GOLDEN SYRUP and VANILLA EXTRACT and whisk again to combine. Add the EGGS one at a time, whisking in between.
- Keep the whisk running on low and alternate between the FLOUR and MILK. First start with a third of the flour, then a third of milk, then a third of flour and so on until you have used it all.
- Finally, fold in the ORANGE ZEST.
- Pour into your prepared tins and smooth out the top so it is nice and even. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- For the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the CREAM CHEESE and BUTTER.
Add the GOLDEN SYRUP.
- With the whisk running, add the ICING SUGAR and CUSTARD POWDER. Half first, then whisk, followed by the other half until it looks smooth and creamy. (This helps if you mix the custard powder into the icing sugar first.)
- Transfer the frosting into a piping bag and onto the cooled cake, pipe half on one cake to make a thick sandwich layer, and with the rest – pipe swirls on the top (or whatever takes your fancy).