As much as I love a stacked sponge showstopper, sandwiched with buttercream and impeccably preened, there’s something deeply comforting about a single layered wedge of cake, rustically finished with dollops of tangy icing and a bit of fruit. This cake undoubtedly falls into the comfort category, and it’s now one of my favourites; ginger cake itself feels nostalgic to me*, but the slightly tangy labneh icing and citrus syrup topping make this one feel a little more modern.
*I don’t know why, I have no emotive family story to share about a recipe passed down through a long line of bakers- my Granny used to feed me M&S sandwich cakes straight from the freezer. I’ll bank that as character building.
For the labneh icing
- 500ml Greek yoghurt
- 3tbsp icing sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
For the cake
- 250g self-raising flour
- 2tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch salt
- 175g golden syrup
- 3tbsp ginger syrup (from a stem ginger jar)
- 125g butter
- 4 balls stem ginger, diced
- 125g light soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 250ml milk
For the blood orange compote
- 90ml blood-orange juice
- 50g caster sugar
- 2tbsp water
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 additional blood oranges
- Line a sieve with a muslin cloth and sit over a large bowl. Scrape the yoghurt into the sieve and loosely tie the muslin around it. Leave this in the fridge overnight for the liquid in the yoghurt to drain (this will leave you with a thickened mixture- labneh).
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a high sided 9inch cake tin.
- Stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. In a saucepan melt together the golden syrup, ginger syrup, butter, diced stem ginger and sugar. Bring to the boil for a minute then make a well in the dry ingredients and add the melted mixture. Stir together to eliminate any lumps then whisk the eggs and milk in a jug and add those in too and beat once more.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
- Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
- Meanwhile, make the blood orange syrup. To do this simply place the juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. At this stage split the vanilla pod and add in, then simmer for 3-4 minutes or until syrupy. Set aside to cool a little, then slice the 2 blood oranges into rounds, discarding the pith and skin. Add the slices into the syrup and stir. Leave to cool completely.
- Tip the strained yoghurt into a bowl and add the vanilla extract. Sift in the icing sugar and stir everything together until smooth.
- To assemble the cake, turn it out of the tin and roughly cover with the sweet labneh. Just before serving, arrange the blood orange slices on top and drizzle the syrup over.