Sunday, June 13, 2010


In keeping with my apparent 'winter food' theme, here's the tastiest, most cold-day-satisfying cake I have ever come across. It's in my recipe notebook as 'Lydia's Gingerbread Cake' - I have no idea where the original recipe came from, but I have the esteemed Dr. to thank for it. Tēnā koe, Lydia.

100g butter
1cup milk
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup golden syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp mixed spice
pinch salt

Oven - 180°C (NOT fan-forced)

Place butter, milk, syrup & sugar in a large saucepan, bring almost to the boil. It's a good idea to stir more or less constantly, to avoid burning the sugar & syrup. Add the salt & baking soda, stir well. When the mixture is frothy, turn off the heat, sift in the flour & spices, & stir until combined. Bake for approx. 45 minutes.

The sugar in the crust will caramelise, giving you a shiny, crunchy crust over a surprisingly firm-but-soft inside. I've only ever baked this in my good cake tin; 45 minutes gives you a ginger-bread-y cake that's springy & has an almost honeycombed texture at the edge, but stays pretty gooey at the centre. In a normal cake tin, it's impossible to get the centre cooked through without burning the edge, and since I like the changing texture anyway, I don't mind.

If you do mind, try experimenting (honestly, it's fun!). Best bet for even texture is probably a ring cake tin, the kind that look like a giant doughnut; spreading the batter across a slice tin will probably give you something more gingerbread-y, and I'm not sure what baking it in a loaf tin would do. Probably the centre would still be a bit gooey, but less than with a traditional cake tin.
In terms of recipe experimentation - a small handful of currants make an awesome addition, and it could probably take walnuts, too. Last night I discovered we had no ginger, so I used cumin instead - awesome variation, and I'll bet ground coriander'd be pretty damn tasty too. I also tend to be kinda freehand with adding the spices, the batter never quite tastes like I want it to.

Warm, this goes really well with thick custard, cream, icecream, whatever. A yoghurt-based sauce would probably suit it well, too. It really doesn't need any help on the sweetness, though. It's also an excellent accompaniment to tea or coffee.

...also the cats really like it, but they don't get any. Nyer nyer...
Go forth & bake!


  1. Kia ora, I don't think I've ever been mentioned in a blog before! I looked up the recipe so you could give credit where credit is due: I believe it is an Alison Holst recipe. It hadn't occurred to me to switch the spices... perhaps because I couldn't possibly not use ginger...and I have a slight obsession with mixed spice! I almost wish the weather were cooler here so I could go make this now.


  2. Though it feels odd to see cake start in a saucepan, I can vouc for the sheer friggin' awesomeness of this cake.

    I would, however, recommend that people try it both warm and at room temperature. Unusual for me, but I actually like the latter better.