Ginger cream sponge with citrus glaze and rhubarb jam.

It’s a special thing to bake a birthday cake for your best friend.
This one is
 light and spicy, earthy and zesty. A fluffy Winter cake for Fury.

Ginger sponge cake

Another great Raspberri Cupcakes recipe.

Before we start, I’m adding two new Noisy Things That Might Jeopardise Your Sponge to my list of Noisy Things That Might Jeopardise Your Sponge:

  • Watching Star Wars
  • Tripping over a bicycle in the kitchen (this is easier to avoid if you don’t live with a cyclist who keeps his bicycles in the kitchen).

Anyway, send everyone outside and skip the loud stuff for an hour or so.

Gather:
For the cake
40 g butter

1 cup plain flour
3 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

4 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

For the ginger cream + rhubarb layer
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup icing mixture
2 tbsp ‘naked’ crystallised ginger (not glacé and not covered in sugar chunks)

5 tbsp rhubarb jam or preserves*

For the glaze
1 cup icing mixture
Pinch of ground ginger
Zest of a lime and an orange
Juice of the lime
Some of the juice of the orange

Ginger sponge ingredients

Then:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C. Butter a regular cake-sized springform tin, and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 25 seconds) and set aside to cool.
  3. Using two medium bowls for the back-and-forth, sift the flour, ground ginger and cloves together THRICE.** Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with hand beaters, whisk the eggs and sugars for about 8 minutes, or until the mixture is pale, frothy, and doubled in size.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and in four batches, carefully sift in the already thrice-sifted flour mixture. Use a large spoon to very gently fold the flour evenly through the egg mixture after each addition.
    Ginger sponge glacier
    (Glacier!)
  6. In three stages, gently add the melted/cooled butter***, delicately folding with the large spoon after each addition. Stop as soon as everything is just combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, and bake for 25 minutes.****
  8. The sponge is ready when it has risen evenly, and is evenly light-golden and dry all over. If at all possible, avoid sticking a skewer in it to test. If you must make contact, very gently touch-but-almost-don’t-touch the surface to check that it’s not sticky, or hiding wet insides inside.
    Undressed ginger sponge
  9. When it’s done, turn the oven off and leave it in there for five minutes, then leave it on the bench on a cooling rack. You can remove the edges of the springform tin after about 10 minutes (I prefer to leave the bottom on until it’s time to prepare and serve).
  10. For the cream
    Very finely chop/mince the ginger.
  11. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with hand beaters in a large metal bowl) whip the cream and icing mixture together.
  12. Gently fold in the minced ginger, making sure it doesn’t clump together too much.
    Ginger cream
  13. For the glaze
    Zest the lime and orange.
  14. In a medium bowl, sift together the icing mixture and spices.
  15. Add the zest and lime juice. Start whisking, and add the orange juice a little at a time, until the glaze is pourable, but not too runny.
  16. To serve
    Using a sharp bread knife, cut the cooled sponge into two layers.
    Ginger sponge with jam
  17. Spread the rhubarb jam over the top surface of the bottom layer. Spread a good amount of the cream over this, and carefully place the other half of the sponge, cut-side down, on top of this.
  18. Pour over the glaze, and pop it into the fridge to set for about 15 minutes.
  19. Serve with ginger + lemon tea, or Pimm’s + ginger beer. This would be REALLY good with Pimm’s + ginger beer.

Notes:
If you’re planning to bake ahead and/or move the cake before serving, you can make the sponge and prep the cream the night before – I did. Just store the cake at room temperature (under a cake dome or wrapped in cling wrap), and the gingered cream in a sealed container in the fridge.

You can also start the glaze the night before: sift the icing mixture + spices, add the zest, mix well, and store in an airtight container to let the flavours infuse. Then just before serving time, follow steps 15 onwards. Don’t worry if it’s gone a bit clumpy – the warm water will fix that. And  how do you get the glaze to fall in that ‘stranded starfish’ shape? Just let it start to set a bit before pouring – you’ll be able to control its gravity-driven descent a little more.

*Yes, store-bought is fine. I used Anathoth Rhubarb and Red Berry, because Anathoth jam is how jam should be.
**Yes, thrice. This is important.
***Yes, weird, I know.
****Yes, ‘silent time’ begins now, and if you ask me, it doesn’t end until the cake has cooled completely. You can do the washing up while the cake bakes, but for the love of sponge, do it quietly!

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