Preserved Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing - Unlive


In all my years of cooking, this is, quite simply, my favourite cake. It's simple but absolute heaven. The spiciness of the ginger within the moist cake, coupled with the sharpness of the lemon icing, is such that it never fails to please all who eat it.

Makes 15 squares

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (April 1994).

Preserved Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing - Unlive
 5 pieces preserved stem ginger in syrup, chopped
 2 tablespoons ginger syrup (from jar of stem ginger in syrup)
 1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
 1 heaped teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
 6 oz (175 g) butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing
 6 oz (175 g) golden caster sugar
 3 large eggs, at room temperature
 1 tablespoon molasses syrup
 8 oz (225 g) self-raising flour
 1 level tablespoon ground almonds
 2 tablespoons milk
For the icing:
 juice 1 lemon
 2 extra pieces preserved stem ginger in syrup
 8 oz (225 g) unrefined golden icing sugar
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).

You will also need a buttered Deliaonline Silverwood oblong tin measuring 8 x 10 and 1½ inches deep (20 x 26cm and 4cm deep) with a liner.


First prepare the cake tin by greasing it lightly and lining it with the silicone paper: press it into the tin, folding the corners in to make it fit neatly. The paper should come up 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the edge.

To make the cake, take a large mixing bowl and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Next break the eggs into a jug and beat them with a fork until fluffy, then gradually beat them into the mixture, a little at a time, until all the egg is incorporated.

Next fold in the ginger syrup and molasses; the best way to add the molasses is to lightly grease a tablespoon, then take a tablespoon of molasses and just push it off the spoon with a rubber spatula into the mixture.

Now sift the flour and ground ginger on to a plate, then gradually fold these in, about a tablespoon at a time. Next fold in the almonds, followed by the milk, and lastly the grated root ginger and pieces of stem ginger.

Now spread the cake mixture evenly in the cake tin, then bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is risen, springy and firm to touch in the centre. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack and make sure it is absolutely cold before you attempt to ice it. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with enough of the lemon juice to make the consistency of thick cream – you might not need all the lemon juice.

Now spread the icing over the top of the cake, and don't worry if it dribbles down the sides in places, as this looks quite attractive. Cut the remaining ginger into 15 chunks and place these in lines across the cake so that when you cut it you will have 15 squares, each with a piece of ginger in the centre.

It's absolute heaven. If you'd like one or two of these cakes tucked away for a rainy day, they freeze beautifully – simply defrost and put the icing on half an hour before serving.

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