Ginger Cake

Jifu had bought a jar of stem ginger pieces in sugar syrup while shopping for the kitchen. She explained that when she was young her mother had often used it in ginger cake and it was wonderful. I was intrigued. I’d made it before using ground ginger, but it had always been a bit disappointing. So when it came out of the oven, this time with lots of syrupy stem ginger pieces scattered through it, it had become something else entirely. Delicious.


80 g (⅓ cup) sugar
300 ml (1¼ cups) buttermilk (or substitute half yogurt and half milk)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons diced stem ginger with syrup
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
125 g (½ cup) butter, melted
315 g (2 cups) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar combined with ½ teaspoon ground ginger for sprinkling


  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
  • Line a 25 cm (10”) cake tin with a 18 cm (7”) wide sheet of parchment paper, or grease a square 20 x 20 cm  (8 x 8″) cake tin.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, buttermilk, eggs, stem ginger with syrup, and ground ginger.
  • Melt the butter in a small pan then whisk into the wet ingredients.
  • In a clean bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a large, shallow metal spoon or firm spatula, reach into the bottom of the mixing bowl and cut and fold the flour into the wet ingredients until just combined. Turn the bowl after each fold so that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Alternatively, beat for a few seconds with an electric beater on low speed, and finish with a few folds using a spatula, reaching to the bottom of the bowl. Drop the batter into the cake tin. If needed, use the tips of a fork to spread the surface of the batter evenly across the cake tin.
  • Combine a tablespoon of sugar with ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and sprinkle over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the edges pull away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven. Rest for a minute before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Stem ginger in syrup

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