Sticky Ginger Cake with Labneh Icing and Blood Orange Syrup

Cakes

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. 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).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a high sided 9inch cake tin.
  3. 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.
  4. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  5. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  6. 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.
  7. Tip the strained yoghurt into a bowl and add the vanilla extract. Sift in the icing sugar and stir everything together until smooth.
  8. 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.

Enjoy!

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Carrot and Ginger Loaf Cake

Cakes

This loaf cake is really light and zingy; I developed the recipe as a bit of a change from all the heavy fruit cakes and chocolatey bakes we’ve been eating over Christmas (not that this is health food by any means!). Try it out- it’s really easy to make but still looks impressive!DSCN9200

To make the cake, you will need: 200g grated carrot, 4 pieces stem ginger (grated), 2 eggs, 200ml vegetable oil, 150g caster sugar, 50g light brown soft sugar, 250g plain flour, 2tsp baking powder, pinch salt, 1tsp cinnamon, 1tsp mixed spice, 1tsp ground ginger, zest 1 lemon, 2tbsp greek yogurt.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a loaf tin.

Whisk together the eggs, oil, light brown sugar, salt and lemon zest in a jug.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the caster sugar, plain flour, baking powder and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon, beat the wet into the dry until fully incorporated and smooth.

Add the greek yoghurt and stir thoroughly to loosen the consistency. Add the grated carrot and ginger and mix in.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

When the cake is golden brown (or a skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached) it is ready. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting and decoration, you will need: juice 1 lemon, 250g cream cheese, 1tbsp icing sugar, zest 1 lemon, crystallised ginger, lime zest.

While the cake is cooling, pierce lots of holes in the surface. Pour the lemon juice over so it seeps through the holes. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon zest. Spread over the top of the cake (it must be cool to do this) and sprinkle chopped ginger and lime zest down the centre.

Slice up and serve (this cake is even better after a couple of days- if it lasts that long!).

Enjoy!