I love the kick of this Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake. Its a simple and moist store-cupboard ginger cake topped with a ginger buttercream and crunchy sugar topping. Whats not to love? Easily adaptable to make cupcakes or a layer cake as you please. Check it out now!
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I can thank the National Trust café at Upton House for giving me the idea for this cake. What at first appeared to be a slightly sorry looking piece of ginger sponge turned out to be moist, delicious and significantly more gingery than it looked.
I’d normally choose a dark and dense gingerbread offering, so this was a revelation. I went home and using my basic Victoria Sponge recipe as a starting point, I took it from there.
Turn Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
My Ginger Loaf Cake is absolutely ideal as part of an afternoon tea, buffet or picnic Feast. Just add some Sausage Rolls, Scotch Eggs or Quiche Lorraine and then some other sweet treats like my Russian Slices and Sticky Toffee Cakes. Don’t forget the extremely kid friendly Cornflake Cakes too!
Cake is pretty synonymous with Easter although we’d usually tend towards fruit or chocolate cakes. I love to make my Lemon and White Chocolate Simnel Cake but also serve something even more non-traditional like this ginger cake alongside.
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake
I buy spices in big bags from Asian supermarkets and the world food aisles of the major supermarket. This tiny 38g jar is £1.10 at the time of writing and this 400g bag is £3.00 (when not on Nectar offer at £2.50) (prices accurate as at 11th November 2023). Its a no-brainer.
For more ginger based recipes, check out my 8 Things to Do with Ginger collection of sweet and savoury recipes.
To the cake a little lighter, you could use light spread, another margarine or spreadable butter instead of the butter in the sponge.
Saying this, I would not use anything other than proper block butter for the buttercream. It never turns out great and it’ll be very soft. I’ve learnt my lesson and stick to proper butter.
Like in my Peach & Ginger Crumble, the most unusual ingredient in this recipe is “Stem Ginger”. These are the balls of candied ginger that are usually found in jars and are amazing for baking.
I also use the syrup from the jar which has lots of flavour too – don’t waste it. If you can’t get hold of stem ginger, just substitute 1 tbsp Ground Ginger for each ball and omit the syrup. It will still be super sweet and spicy.
This ginger cake recipe works equally well as a 2 layer cake. Just split the sponge batter between 2 x 20cm circular tins and use the buttercream topping as the filling. Ice the top with a simple lemon juice and icing sugar glaze. Add the crunch topping too if you wish.
As with most sponge recipes, this is also very easy to adapt to makes cupcakes. The given recipe size will make 12-16 cupcakes made in a muffin tin lined with paper cases. Again use the buttercream icing and crunchy topping as with the loaf cake.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
Good news – no meat, fish or suet here so my Fiery Ginger Cake is suitable for vegetarians.
To make this recipe suitable for vegans, I would start by making a specifically vegan sponge batter. Add in the ground ginger then pick up my recipe from step 8.
You will also need to substitute the butter in the buttercream for a 50/50 mix of vegan baking block and dairy free margarine. The flavour of a plain buttercream can be compromised but with all of the fiery flavouring in this buttercream, I don’t believe that you’d be able to tell.
Make it Allergy Friendly
The Ginger Loaf Cake is free from nuts.
Egg or Dairy Free: To avoid an egg or dairy allergy, follow the guidelines above to make the Ginger Loaf vegan. For an egg allergy, there is no need to adapt the buttercream recipe.
Gluten Free: To make the cake suitable for those on a gluten free diet, substitute the self raising flour with gluten free flour and add in the appropriate amount of gluten free baking powder.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake
You can use a stand mixer with paddle attachment in place of the electric hand mixer. You could use a wooden spoon and elbow grease but I really do think that some electrical assistance is a real boon to the lightness and fluffiness of cakes.
But don’t use power when folding in the flour. A simple silicone spatula is my weapon of choice at that point. Over-beating will make the cake tough. This tip applies for almost any cake and is why I am not generally a fan of the “all-in-one” method.
You don’t need to pipe the buttercream on top – smothering it over with the back of your spatula will work perfectly. But since I invested in some disposable piping bags and a starter set of piping nozzles, I’m a big fan of using a star nozzle and zero technique to create something simple but stunning.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Like most victoria based sponges and Pound Cakes, this loaf cake is best eaten fresh. If you need to make it more than a day or two in advance, you can make the cake, wrap it in clingfilm and foil and pop in the freezer.
You can do this before of after icing but don’t freeze with the crunchy topping. Or you’ll just have a soggy topping!
Leftover Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake
Leftovers?! How I make myself laugh! I normally run out of cake too fast and have to make another!
But in the event that you are not a greedy guts or have sensibly doubled the recipe, I would recommend using the stale sponge in my Russian Slice recipe. You can add extra shop bought cake or any other odds and ends hanging around too.
Slices of cake can also be frozen individually – perfect for a quick pick me up or lunchbox treat.
Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake Tips
If you’re not confident about your egg cracking skills, crack them into a small bowl first.
Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the cake and if it comes out clean, its ready.
Do try and be patient and let the cake properly cool before icing. I’m impatient and it never works out well – the icing will just melt all over the shop.
After writing about this cake, I’m going to have to go and make one. I don’t need any more photos (my usual excuse), I just really want to eat some – its so moorish!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Simple Sweet Bakes
More Ginger Recipes
Fiery Ginger Loaf Cake Recipe
- 225 g Salted Butter - or Light Spread
- 225 g Caster Sugar (Superfine Sugar)
- 4 Egg
- 3 tbsp Milk
- 3 tbsp Ground Ginger
- 200 g Self Raising Flour (Self-Rising)
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 100 g Salted Butter
- 200 g Icing Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar)
- 3 balls Stem Ginger
- 1 tbsp Syrup from Stem Ginger Jar
Crunch Topping (Optional)
- 3 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Ground Ginger
Make the Sponge Cake
- Preheat the oven to 170c or equivalent.
- Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment or a ready cut loaf liner.
- Weight 225g Salted Butter and 225g Caster Sugar into a mixing bowl. Beat together until light and fluffy.
- Crack one of the 4 Eggs straight into the mixture and continue beating. Allow a good 30-60 seconds beating for each egg. It might look split but don't panic.
- Continue to add the remaining eggs one at a time. By the time you have finished, the mixture should be super light and airy.
- Add 3 tbsp Milk one tbsp at a time and beat in thoroughly. Then add 3 tbsp Ground Ginger and beat in.
- Add 200g Self Raising Flour and 1 tbsp Baking Powder and gently fold in. Do not overbeat it.
- Pop the mixture into the lined loaf tin and bung into the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Take out the oven when a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool for 5-10 minutes then remove it from the tin, still in the lining and leave on a wire rack to cool – at least 30 minutes.
Make the Buttercream
- Whilst the cake is cooling, using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, beat together 100g Salted Butter and 200g Icing Sugar.
- Chop 3 Balls of Stem Ginger into small pieces and add them to the buttercream along with 1 tbsp of Syrup from Stem Ginger Jar.
- Smear or pipe the buttercream over the cooled cake. You can make it as pretty or otherwise as you like. I somwtimes keep it quite rough and ready but sometimes whip out a piping bag and pretty nozzle!
Make the Crunch Topping (Optional)
- Mix together 3 tbsp Light Brown Soft Sugar and 1 tsbp Ground Ginger.
- Scatter the mix over the top of the buttercream layer. This gives a bit of crunch and even more fiery ginger flavour.
- Slice and enjoy.