Preserved Ginger Cake
In the original book, and ever since, this has been one of my own top favourites, and has been hugely popular with everyone. But this time round we have used the all-in-one method, so it’s much easier, and we’ve discovered the whole thing freezes beautifully for up to a month.
Begin by placing the opened tin of black treacle in a saucepan of barely simmering water to warm it and make it easier to spoon.
Meanwhile sift the flour and baking powder into a roomy mixing bowl, lifting the sieve quite high to give the flour a good airing as it goes down, then add the butter, golden caster sugar, eggs, treacle and ground ginger.
Now, using an electric hand whisk, combine them for about 1 minute until you have a smooth creamy consistency.
After that fold in the milk, along with the heaped tablespoon of ground almonds and the ginger syrup. Then chop 5 of the pieces of stem ginger fairly small and fold these into the cake mix too.
Spread the cake mix in the tin, level it off with the back of a tablespoon and bake for 40–50 minutes near the centre of the oven or until the cake is risen, springy and firm to the touch in the centre.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then lift the cake out of the tin using the liner and place it on a wire rack.
Then, holding the liner at one end, use a palette knife to slide the cake directly onto the rack, and leave until cold.
For the icing: sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with enough lemon juice to make the consistency of thin cream. Spread the icing over the top of the cake, and never mind if it dribbles down the side in a few places – it looks nice and homemade.
Cut the remaining 2 pieces of stem ginger into 15 pieces and arrange in lines of three across the cake.
For serving, cut the cake into 15 squares.