One of the very first things I learnt to bake when I was a girl was ginger gems. They were simple to make and there was nothing better than the smell of golden syrup and ginger wafting in the air of the home economics class at school as they baked. We used a classic recipe featured in the “Edmonds Cook Book“. This is a cook book that resided in pretty much every New Zealand household at the time and I made ginger gems over and over again in my teenage years.
It has been years now since I have made ginger gems, but I happened to see them mentioned the other day. At the time I was busy contemplating trying the ‘fresh ginger cake’ featured in David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert, but the one sticking point for me was the addition of molasses. Now it turns out that I am not a fan of molasses. This is a recent discovery based on a disastrous recipe experience for none other than ginger cake (not David’s I hasten to add). Understandably, I was a bit apprehensive about delving into the dark sticky and rather smelly substance again. So with ginger gems still on my mind, I decided to make a couple of small adaptions to David’s recipe. The major adaptation was to substitute the molasses with golden syrup and I also used slightly less ginger than the original recipe. The end result was delicious; a rather grown up version of my beloved ginger gems. Served warm from the oven with honeycomb and caramel ice cream it was an absolute winner!
Fresh Ginger CakeAdapted from David Lebovitz “Ready for Dessert“.
Makes 4 x 4″ small cakes (Double the recipe to make 1 x 9″ cake).
- 50gm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/2 cup golden syrup
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 175gm plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Spray cake tins with vegetable oil and line the bottom of each tin with baking paper.
Peel ginger and slice finely then chop slices until very fine small pieces.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and vegetable oil. Once mixed, add the golden syrup and mix again.
In a medium bowl place the flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper and mix together.
In a medium saucepan place the water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the baking soda and mix.
Add the water and baking soda to the golden syrup mix and stir until combined.
Add the ginger to the golden syrup mix and stir to combine.
Gradually add the flour mix to the golden syrup mix and whisk together until completely combined. Add egg and mix until combined.
Pour evenly into the cake pans.
Place the cake tins on a baking tray and bake at 175°C for approx. 35 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean.
This cake can be served cold, but I found it was best when served warm from the oven with honeycomb and butterscotch ice cream