The tea rooms is now closed for the winter and we will re-open in the spring. This means that I can now spend more time preparing for Christmas. I was about to make a traditional fruit cake for Christmas as I do every year when I thought “Why not break with tradition and make a different cake for Christmas?”.
I have recently developed a new Chocolate Ginger Cake for the tea rooms which has been very popular. Chocolate and ginger are a match made in heaven and both are traditional at Christmas. I thought this cake would make an excellent alternative to our traditional Christmas cake. It is quick to make and doesn’t need time to mature like a rich fruit cake so could be left until just before Christmas. The decoration can be as simple or elaborate as you like – let the children or grandchildren help.
Chocolate Ginger CakeCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
3 ounces / 85 grams cocoa
10 ounces / 285 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
7 ounces / 195 grams soft dark brown sugar
6 fluid ounces / 160 ml vegetable oil
6 fluid ounces / 160 ml buttermilk or yoghurt
3 large eggs
4 ounces / 110 grams golden syrup
3 ounces / 85 grams black treacle
8 fluid ounces / 190 ml boiling water
- Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl.
- Add the sugar and whisk the dry ingredients together until they are evenly blended. You can do this with and electric mixer with the whisk attachment on a low speed or by hand with a balloon whisk.
- Whisk together the oil, buttermilk or yoghurt and the eggs.
- Pour this mixture onto the dry ingredients and mix together either with the whisk attachment on your mixer or by hand with a large metal spoon.
- Weigh out your treacle and golden syrup into a heatproof jug or bowl.
- Put the kettle on to boil and pour 8 fluid ounces / 190 ml of boiling water onto the treacle and syrup mixture.
- Stir to dissolve the treacle and golden syrup.
- Now slowly pour this mixture into the cake mix and mix on low with an electric mixer or stir with a large metal spoon.
- The resulting mixture will be very liquid so you will need to pour it into your cake tins.
- Grease and base line two 9 inch / 23 cm sandwich tins.
- Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven 350°F / 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4 for approximately 35 minutes until well risen. Pierce the cakes with a metal skewer – if it comes out clean they are cooked – if it is sticky then give them a few more minutes.
- Cool the cakes in the tins. If you try to turn them out when they are warm they may crack or break.
- When cool remove from the tins and wrap in cling film. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to decorate them.
Chocolate Ginger Cake Ganache
The cake is filled and iced with chocolate ganache – a simple and delicious chocolate icing. For the cake I make for the tea rooms I use a white chocolate ganache with a border of chopped stem ginger. A dark chocolate or a milk chocolate ganache also work well – the choice is yours.
600 grams chocolate (white, milk or dark, or a mixture.
600 mls double cream.
Chocolate Ganache Directions
I have only given metric measurements as in the UK chocolate comes in 100 gram bars and 600 ml is one large carton of double cream.
- If using white chocolate chop it into small pieces, milk and dark chocolate can just be broken up with your fingers.
- Bring the cream to the boil, either in a saucepan on a cooker, or in a microwave.
- Put the chocolate into into a heat proof bowl and pour the boiling cream over it.
- Leave to stand for about 5 minutes then whisk gently until you have a smooth consistency.
- Put in a cool place to set until it is a spreadable consistency.
Icing the Chocolate Ginger Cake
Once your ganache is cooled and thick enough to spread you can start icing the cake.
- Put one layer onto your serving dish and spread about a quarter of the ganache on the top. Cover this with the other layer of cake and press gently together.
- Use about half the remaining ganache to spread a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake to trap and crumbs. This is especially important when using white chocolate as the dark crumb of the cake will show through the white chocolate ganache.
- Now put the cake in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until the icing is set.
- Once the first layer of icing is firm you can use the remaing ganache to spread a final coat all over the cake. If the ganache has become too firm to spread while the cake was chilling a few seconds in the microwave will soften it.
Now you can have fun!
I made two versions – I decorated one cake with white chocolate ganache and with lebkuchen, gingerbread men and gingerbread stars. My gingerbread shapes were homemade because I had been making them with my grandchildren but there are many really good gingerbread men and other shapes available to buy. This is however a last minute fix. You can pile on the lebkuchen in advance but the gingerbread shapes need to be added just before serving, as they will absorb moisture from the chocolate ganache and start to soften.
For the second cake I used dark chocolate ganache and bought chocolate truffles and chocolate stars. If you like to make sweets you could make your own truffles but with so much to do at Christmas it is a lot easier to buy them. I also gave it a touch of Christmas glitz with golden sparkles, an edible gold spray.
I do hope you have time to make this cake for Christmas. It was such fun to decorate and so simple that children or grandchildren could help. If you do make it I would love to see a photo of your finished cake.