Is there anything more festive than gingerbread?! Ok, cinnamon and cranberries also come to mind but you can’t celebrate Christmas without a little ginger. This Gingerbread Loaf is a moist, sticky cake full of festive spices and topped with cream cheese and cinnamon frosting. Scroll down for the recipe.
The concept of ‘spare cake’ is a bit alien to me. How could cake ever be surplous to requirements?! there’s no such thing as too much cake right? Well last week was our Christmas Clandestine Cake Club meet up and I’d been in two minds about what to bake. In fact, I was so indecisive I actually baked two cakes!
The first was a Cinnamon Loaf which I topped with cream cheese frosting and a mulled cranberry compote. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself, and as it was the first cake out of the oven and decorated in time for the Clandestine Cake Club meeting it was the one I took along. The Gingerbread Loaf however sat naked on my kitchen counter feeling very much forgotten.
In fact, it didn’t cross my mind again until I got home later that day. I’d had a long hard week and I couldn’t face decorating, photographing and eating any more cake (I’d had no less than 5 slices at cake club already that morning!) And so it got hidden away in a tin. Luckily, gingerbread tastes best when its had a day or two to mature. It was clearly meant to be!
Gingerbread loaf cake
Although this gingerbread loaf looks pretty simple from the outside, there are actually a lot of ingredients that go into it. Beyond the usual butter, flour and eggs there’s golden syrup, treacle, brown sugar, dried spices such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg not to mention candied stem ginger and fresh root ginger too! They all come together in a sticky, moist sponge cake that is perfect with a hot chocolate or Christmas coffee.
Despite the long list of ingredients it’s very simple to make. You’ll only need a mixing bowl, saucepan and a spatula (minimal washing up is very important at this time of year). You can even keep your loaf tin clean like I did by using loaf tin liners.
What I love most about this cake is that it is the perfect alternative to a slice of Christmas cake. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t rich, but it is still much lighter than your usual slice of fruit cake. The cream cheese icing is sweet, but not as sickly as marzipan and royal icing that usually adorns a Christmas cake. This makes it ideal for a treat while you’re snuggled up on your sofa watching a film or two over the holiday season.
- For the cake
- 175g self raising flour
- 1 heaped tbsp. of ground ginger
- 2 tsp. of cinnamon
- 1/4 nutmeg (grated)
- 1 inch piece root ginger (peeled and grated)
- 5 tbsp. (75ml) water
- 2 large tbsp. (75g) treacle
- 2 large tbsp. (75g) golden syrup
- 75g light brown sugar
- 75g butter
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 2 pieces stem ginger in syrup (diced)
- For the icing
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g cream cheese
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 500g icing sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- Stem ginger to decorate
- Pre-heat the oven to 170C and line a 2lb loaf tin.
- Weigh out your dry ingredients and spices into a large mixing bowl.
- Place the water, treacle, golden syrup, sugar and butter into a saucepan and place on a low-medium heat. Warm the mixture gently until the sugar and butter have dissolved and formed a sticky syrup.
- Stir the syrup into the dry ingredients and beat well until smooth.
- Allow the mix to cool slightly if it hasn't already done so and begin to beat in the egg and milk.
- Finally stir in the stem ginger before pouring the cake mix into the lined loaf tin.
- Place low in your oven (so that the top of the loaf tin is in the centre of the oven) and bake for 1hr 15mins - 1hr 30mins or until the cake is risen and springy to the touch.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing.
- Store the cake in its liner until you are ready to decorate (best done on the day of serving).
- To make the icing, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light, smooth and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
- Still beating, add the icing sugar a little at a time along with the cinnamon.
- Beat well until the icing is smooth and light.
- Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate with diced or thinly sliced pieces of stem ginger (optional).
I’m pleased to say the cake went down a treat at work. Who doesn’t appreciate a cheeky slice of cake at 11am on a Monday? It certainly makes the week a little brighter!
Pin it for later!
If you like this recipe, make sure you pin it so you can refer back to it later.
More alternative Christmas cakes
Is there a festive cake recipe you prefer to traditional Christmas Cake? Over the last few years I’ve had great fun coming up with alternatives. Keep an eye out for my Cinnamon Loaf Cake with Mulled Cranberry Compote which will be posted later this week, another fab Christmas cake alternative that can be made in a fraction of the time!
In the meantime, here are some more alternative Christmas cake recipes you may enjoy:
- Winter Apple and Cinnamon Bundt from Sew White
- Chocolate and Orange Christmas Cake
- Meringue Christmas Tree from Supergoldenbakes
- Fig and Walnut Cake
- Festive Red and Green Six Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Kerry Cooks
- Black Forest Cake
- Fig and Almond Cake with Whisky from Tin and Thyme
- Red Velvet Rudolph Cupcakes
- Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes from Tinned Tomatoes