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Ginger loaf cake with rum caramel

With the festive season upon us, a scrumptious spice-spiked ginger loaf cake is not only appropriate but compulsory. Now, I’ve tried a few different recipes in the past, but this rich molasses version is the only yuletide treat I need.

Picture this; the Christmas lights are on, decorations are all in place, Mariah Carrey sings at the background, favourite book in hand and the most traditional festive aromas fill the air – the kind that brings back childhood memories. It’s the succulent ginger loaf cake bubbling in the oven – later on I’ll cover it with golden rum caramel.

This cake is all you need to turn your afternoon tea into a glorious celebration or bring it along to a Christmas dinner and impress your hosts. The opulent flavours of molasses and spices are perfectly balanced, while the adult caramel decadently drapes the loaf.

I like to pair it with peppermint tea or a macchiato while I bury myself under endless Christmass-y to-do lists!

Ginger loaf cake with rum caramel

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For the cake:

190g (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour

1tbsp ground ginger

1tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

120ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla essence

115g (8 tbsp) butter

200g (1 cup) tightly packed brown sugar

230 ml (1 cup) molasses

2 large eggs

For the rum caramel:

80ml water

250g golden caster sugar

120ml double cream

25g (1 tbsp) butter

a good pinch of salt

1 tbsp spiced rum (you can also use bourbon or scotch)

Preheat the oven to 160 C and coat a 9 inch loaf pan with butter. Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir thoroughly and set aside. In another bowl combine the buttermilk and vanilla essence. Whisk the brown sugar and butter for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and light. Now add the molasses and beat until incorporated, then add the eggs one by one beating just to incorporate after each addition.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and continue mixing in low speed. Add half of the buttermilk, mix and continue with 1/3 of the flour. Mix in the other half of the buttermilk, mix and sift the last third of the flour. The batter should look dark and smooth.

Pour the butter in the loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Because the batter is dark it is very easy to over bake. To avoid that test with a toothpick 5 minutes before it is ready. Once the cake is pulling apart from the sides and the toothpick comes out clean the cake is ready. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan, remove it and place on a rack to cool completely.

While you are waiting prepare the caramel. Place a non-stick pan over high heat, pour in the water and sugar and bring to boil. You don’t need to stir, just let it boil for 3-4 minutes. You know it’s ready once it turns golden-brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the double cream. Whisk in the butter and the rum and sprinkle the salt. Leave it aside to cool. This portion is too much for the cake, but you can keep the rest in a jar in the fridge for 2 weeks. Use it on your pancakes or even in a luxurious cup of hot chocolate! Just warm it up with a little bit of water.

Once the cake has cooled completely pour the caramel and serve!