Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream
Serves 12-16 Skill level: medium Prep time: 45 mins, plus chilling
225 g (8 oz) unsalted butter
60 g (2¼ oz) treacle
150 g (5½ oz) golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 g (7 oz) light muscovado sugar
300 ml (½ pt) full fat milk 2 eggs
350 g (12 oz) plain flour 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt
4½ tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp allspice
50 g (1¾ oz) stem ginger, chopped finely
50 ml (2 fl oz) stem ginger syrup
For the Maple Buttercream: 250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter, softened
180 g (6½ oz) icing sugar 50 ml (2 fl oz) maple syrup 1 Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. C., 350 deg. F., Gas Mark 4.
2 Heat the butter, treacle, golden syrup and vanilla in a saucepan until melted. Whisk in the brown sugar and set aside to cool.
3 In a separate jug, whisk together the milk and eggs. Pour this into the butter and sugar mixture and whisk until fully combined.
4 In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour the wet ingredients into the dry with the ginger. Stir until there are no large lumps. Divide the batter evenly between two tins and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
5 Whilst the cakes bake, heat the stem ginger syrup with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it come to the boil before removing from the heat.
6 Once the cakes are fully cooked, poke the surface with a skewer and pour over the hot syrup, allowing it to soak through. Let the cakes cool before removing them from their tins and placing on a wire rack.
7 When the layers are completely cool, wrap them in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to firm up. Once chilled, unwrap the cakes and use a sharp serrated knife to cut each layer into two, so you have four layers in total. Set aside whilst you make the buttercream.
8 To make the maple buttercream, beat the butter for 3 to 4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add in the icing sugar and continue to beat for another 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup and beat until fully incorporated.
9 Assemble the cake by sandwiching each layer with some buttercream. When you get to the last layer, place it cut side up, giving you a completely flat top. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Swirl some extra buttercream on the top of the cake, then decorate with some desiccated coconut, gold leaf and sugared cranberries.
Our festive Christmas cakes make a delicious change from traditional recipes.