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It started with an image of a scrummy gingerbread cake from The Boy Who Bakes on Instagram. And the fact that it's Gingerbread Month on BBC Good Food. Although I've often made Gingerbread Biscuits, I've never made a Gingerbread Cake before. So I set about to find an authentic recipe with a truly gingerbready (is that even a word?) cake - and I think I've found the one.
I played around with an old recipe from the Crabapple Bakery that was originally intended to make Gingerbread Cupcakes. I wanted to make a Stem Ginger Bundt Cake. I've had my share of challenges removing cakes from Bundt tins in the past and scoured the web for help - stay tuned for the top tips I've gathered!
So this cake is a lovely traditional gingerbread and the wonderful ginger taste comes from both stem ginger and ground ginger. Although I'm not a fan of stem ginger, the small pieces throughout give a slight crunch and lovely pop of ginger when you take a bite. The cake itself is light in texture, although it does have a slight squidginess which is ever so delicious.
So before we make the cake, let's talk Bundt Tins. Ever had a bundt cake that just wouldn't release from its tin after baking? Or perhaps it broke apart when coming out of its tin? I have. So here are my tips that I now use. First I grease the tin with butter, wiping all over the surfaces with a good coating of room temperature butter. Then I get a pastry brush and make sure that all the little cracks and crevices are well coated too. Once the tin is very well buttered, I dust the whole tin with flour. I read somewhere that you shouldn't pour your batter into the tin in one go, but fill it with cupfuls so I did that here. And a final tip that I found on Crafty Baking was that when the cake is ready to come out of the oven, soak a towel with steaming water in the sink and place the cake (tin side touching the cloth) for 10 seconds, before turning out immediately onto a cooling rack. And it works!
Now on to the cake. The batter is made in a large saucepan where we start by melting the butter, dark muscovado sugar and treacle until the butter has melted and sugar dissolved but the mixture shouldn't boil. Once they're melted together, leave to cool for 5 minutes and then add in succession (stirring well between each addition) the milk, eggs, chopped stem ginger and sifted flour mixture, taking care not to over-mix and toughen the batter. Then pour this into the tin until it's three-quarters full and bake.
When I had a finished cake turned out and cooling on the rack, I warmed a quarter cup of maple syrup and brushed that all over the outside and then dusted the cake with icing sugar. It wasn't intended to look Christmassy but it does look like a light sprinkling of snow has passed overhead. And I have to confess that after spending the last few weeks practicing my son's Christmas choir songs for his school carol service, it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
This makes a really lovely, light cake and/or dessert (I'm thinking of trying it with a little ice cream later!) with fresh pops of ginger throughout.
Personally I think it's all worth it for the smell alone when it's baking in the oven - but if you love ginger, then this is sure to be a hit :)
Stem Ginger Bundt Cake (adapted from Crabapple Bakery's Ginger Lovers' Cupcakes)
- 300G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 200G DARK MUSCOVADO SUGAR
- 160G TREACLE
- 240ML SEMI-SKIMMED MILK
- 3 EGGS, BEATEN
- 1 PIECE OF STEM GINGER, CHOPPED INTO TINY PIECES
- 400G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 1½ TBSP GROUND GINGER
- ¼ TSP SALT
- Grease with butter and flour your bundt tin
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees
- In a large saucepan, gently heat the butter, sugar and treacle until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved but don't let it boil
- Once the mixture is melted and well-mixed, remove from the heat and leave to one side for 5 mins
- Sieve the flour, ginger and salt into a separate bowl
- Add the milk to the saucepan and stir until well-mixed
- Then add the eggs one at a time, ensuring that all the egg is combined well with the mixture
- Stir through the stemmed ginger
- Add the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, ensuring that the flour is well incorporated and the mixture smooth but taking care not to over-mix it
- Transfer the batter to the bundt tin one cup at a time
- Bake for around 40 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Just before the cake is due out of the oven, soak a tea towel with steaming hot water in the sink and place the tin on top of it (tin side touching the towel) for 10 seconds
- Then turn out the cake immediately onto a cooling rack
- Leave to cool for 10 mins and then heat a quarter cup of maple syrup for 20 seconds in the microwave
- Lightly brush the outside of the cake with the syrup
- Sieve icing sugar over the top of the cake and serve on a pretty platter (Christmas look optional!!)