Sunday, 2 October 2011

Famous Faces’ Favourite Fancies – Ginger cake

“Legend” is a word that is bandied about far too often these days if you ask me, but I’m going to use it here and mean it. If you asked most people to name a snooker legend the first name out of their mouth would be Steve Davis

In terms of someone dominating a sport you’d have to look quite a way to beat Steve Davis. Just read this incredibly potted (ha ha, pun totally intended!) summary of his achievements:

  • First player to complete a televised 147 (maximum) break;
  • More professional titles than any other player;
  • Winner of the World Championship six times in the 1980s;
  • World number 1 for seven years running;
  • Famously lost the black ball finish in the 1985 World Championship final against Dennis Taylor, which although finishing past midnight had an audience 18.5 million people – still a record for BBC2;
  • BBC Sports personality of the year;
  • MBE and OBE;
  • Top ten hit with Chas & Dave (OK, he might want to forget that one!)

Famous for his ginger hair he gained nicknames such as “The Nugget” and “The Ginger Magician”. My grandmother though, who was a staunch fan, only ever referred to him by one name: Lover Boy. Quite how she came up with this name I do not know, but that was what she ALWAYS called him! Maybe that’s why I decided to write to him; he provided my grandmother with so much entertainment that, even now several years after her death, we still refer to him as Lover Boy (which might freak him out if he ever reads this!)

His calm-under-pressure temperament led him to be called boring, something that he has always played up to despite having a terrific sense of humour. Perhaps it was that sense of humour that led him to choose ginger cake as his favourite fancy!

This ginger cake is something a bit different; it is adapted from a German ginger spice cake recipe and doesn’t contain the usual golden syrup and treacle. This results in a lighter, less sticky texture. It replaces sugar with honey and adds some lightness in the addition of soured cream. I was further intrigued by the use of rye flour...which I couldn’t find anywhere so will have to revisit this when I find some! There’s quite a lot of spice:

I brushed some ginger syrup over the cake as it cooled just to intensify the flavour. This is optional. As with all ginger cakes, the flavours develop over time so try and make a day or two in advance of when you wish to serve it.

For this cake, I made my white icing much thicker than I normally would. I think it was the German influenced recipe which got me thinking about the thick icing on German Christmas gingerbread – often the biscuit will be shaped like a house with thick white icing representing snow on the roof. That’s what I’ve tried to do here and I love it –the icing looks almost cartoony!


For the cake:

125g unsalted butter
250g honey
3 eggs
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon allspice
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g rye flour – I couldn’t find this in my local shops so used wholemeal flour
150ml soured cream

Optional: 2 tablespoons ginger syrup to brush over the cake when it comes out the oven

For the icing:

100g icing sugar
Enough water or syrup from a stem ginger jar to make a thick icing – add a tablespoon at a time


Generously grease a 20cm bundt tin with butter or, ideally, cake release spray. The recipe I used gave no indication of cake tin size so I used a 23cm tin, which was too big.

Place the butter and honey in a large saucepan (all the other ingredients need to fit in here) and melt together. Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/ fan oven 150°C/325°F/ Gas mark 3.

Beat the eggs and spices into the butter-honey mixture.

Fold in half of the plain flour, rye flour and baking powder.

Fold in half of the soured cream.

Repeat the folding process until all the ingredients are combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

Bake for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 130°C/ fan oven 110°C/250°F/ Gas mark 1 and bake for approximately a further 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine only needed 35 minutes which surprised me as I never thought the cake would cook successfully at such a low temperature.

Leave to cool, still in the tin, on a wire rack. I find ginger cakes rather fragile so usually let them cool in the tin before turning out.

If using, brush the ginger syrup over the cake in the tin, let it seep down the edges too (the cake will have just started to pull away from the tin giving a gap for the syrup!)

When the cake is cool it can be iced: place the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually beat in either water or ginger syrup. Add liquid sparingly as it is easy to make it too runny. I made mine very thick.

Pour the icing over the cake and leave to set.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Soo said...

Well, Lover Boy picked a yummy looking cake. Ginger cake is definitely a fave of mine. When this crazy heat ends I might be tempted to try the recipe.

Gloria said...

OMG This ginger cake look really amazing! I love ginger cakes I think are special, gloria

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Ah, I really hope Steve DOES read this! I think he'd be well chuffedd with such a beauty of a cake. My Nana used to love watching snooker too (well, infact any sport)- but I remember her thoroughly enjoying watching 'The Golden Nugget' and his contemporaries... (PS: I really love this series Caked Crusader)

Rachael said...

I seriously hope he reads this! What a beautiful looking cake :)

Miz Ratti said...

I love that your Grandma called him Lover Boy, I hope he reads this, I would love to be a fly on his wall when he does. Ginger cake is one of my all time favourite and this looks yummy.

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

It does look a bit cartoony I love it, like a dollop of clouds! I really enjoy these famous faces posts :)

Nom! x

Jacqueline said...

He picked a great cake CC. As ever I am loving this series. I always look forward to the next one appearing. Inspired!

Footprints of Peace said...

It does look amazing. I have never had ginger cake. Well, I take that back, I have had gingerbread.

Trash said...

I remain unsure of ginger cake but this sounds a cracker. Good choice LoverBoy.

Jo said...

I bet Lover Boy will be delighted with his cake! This is such a fun idea for a series, I hope you keep getting more replies.

C said...

It looks lovely, but then I'm a scuker for anything ginger!

Lover your bundt tin too!

Choclette said...

Wow the texture of that cake looks perfect. I know nothing about snooker, but if it's responsible for this cake there must be something to it ;-)

Nicola said...

Well I really hope lover boy will read this post lol! What a gorgeous looking ginger cake, I just want to stick my finger in that icing!

Baking Addict said...

Lover boy certainly did well :) I love the thick white icing and am envious of your bundt pan.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thae cake looks absolutely delish.Moist and the icing so reach.Ginger ..exotic:) Great job:)

Sunshine said...

That looks soooo good! Mmmmm...

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

Ginger cake has to be one of my favourites. Looks lovely and moist

flyon_littlewing said...

Yum! I got really addicted to Pain d'epice whilst in Strasbourg and now I can finally make my own!

Maggie said...

The honey in the cake must have tasted amazing. I love the tin too!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I live in Germany and this cake is quite well known and often eaten before Christmas, during the season of Advent. Here it is called Honigkuchen or Kaffeekuchen as Germans generally drink coffee with cake, not because there is coffee in the cake, confusing I know! I will try it with the rye flour as it is easy to find here, the Germans are enthusiastic bakers, even making their own bread on a regular basis. German bread is fanstastic and there are so many varieties, all of which have their own specific title depending on the mixture of different flours (usually rye and wheat), the region where they were originally baked and so on. Pointing and saying "that one" when ordering in a bakery doesn't cut it here, you have to acknowledge each particular loaf with its own name!

Sumaiyyah said...

One thing I admire about your cakes, CC, is the many different shapes they come in! I suppose that's what you get for having so many cake tins. The cake looks so lovely and dense and moist, but I've yet to learn to love ginger in baking :D

Anonymous said...

This looks absolutely incredible...and the crumb looks so moist! I love bundt cake but don't yet own a tin...this recipe looks too good to miss though so might give it a go in a normal cake pan.

Cakelaw said...

Yummo - what a great looking cake.

Jay said...

wow...picture perfect..
sounds irresistable n hearty..
first time your space..
awesome presentation..
Am your happy follower now..:)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Kim said...

Delicious! I am in search of something to christen my bundt tin with and I may have just found it!

Annamaria @ It's In There said...

This looks amazing! I would love to try this with my cream cheese frosting and candied citron on top. Thanks for sharing, I just found you blog and joined. Hope you will join mine as well!


Hazel said...

This looks so dense and moist.... and ginger flavour too... mmmmm perfect!