Bonfire night ginger cake with cinder toffee

Sunday, October 14, 2018 Food

Dazzled by this year’s mouthwatering masterpieces? Then try making Prue, Paul and the contestants’ creations yourself with these recipes from the show’s new cookbook

The spicy warmth of ginger, with the crunch and caramel flavour of cinder toffee, makes it the perfect autumn treat


The spicy warmth of ginger, with the crunch and caramel flavour of cinder toffee, makes it the perfect autumn treat

This ginger cake, with stem ginger inside and a salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream, is decorated with cinder toffee.

The spicy warmth of ginger, with the crunch and caramel flavour of cinder toffee, makes it the perfect autumn treat.

What you will need 3 x 20cm loose-bottomed round cake tins, greased, then base-lined with baking paper; a sugar thermometer; 2 baking trays lined with silicone sheets; muslin cloth; shallow container; medium piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle; medium disposable piping bag

Serves 12

  • 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g (7oz) dark brown sugar
  • 100g (3½oz) golden syrup
  • 30g (1oz) treacle
  • 275g (9¾oz) self-raising flour
  • 1tbsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 10 balls of stem ginger from a jar, cut into 1cm dice
  • 4tbsp syrup from the stem ginger jar
  • 100g (3½oz) crystallised ginger, roughly chopped, to decorate

For the cinder toffee

  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • 90g (3¼oz) golden syrup
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 180g (6¼oz) caster sugar
  • 180ml (6¼fl oz) double cream
  • 1tsp sea salt

For the Swiss meringue buttercream

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
  • 175g (6oz) salted butter, at room temperature, diced
  • 6 balls of stem ginger from a jar, very finely chopped

For the dripping sauce

  • 25g (1oz) soft dark brown sugar
  • ½tbsp golden syrup
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 25ml (1fl oz) double cream
  • ¼tsp sea salt flakes


To make small spirals, hold your piping bag almost upright about 1cm above your cake.

Start at the outside edge of where you want the base of your spiral and, squeezing the bag with even pressure, move the nozzle inwards and upwards in a circular motion to make slightly overlapping rings.

To finish, press down lightly then lift the bag up and away.

STEP 1 For the sponge, preheat the oven to 35o°f 4. Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, and beat on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until it is soft and creamy.

STEP 2 In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and salt.

STEP 3 Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture, beating after each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, add 1tbsp of the flour mixture with each egg.

STEP 4 Fold the flour mixture and diced stem ginger into the creamed mixture. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 lined tins and level. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

STEP 5 Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

STEP 6 For the cinder toffee, put the sugar, golden syrup and ground ginger into a large pan. Place over a medium heat and stir continuously until the sugar dissolves.

STEP 7 Increase the heat and cook until the temperature on a sugar thermometer reaches 311 degrees F. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and might splatter. Pour the cinder toffee into one of the lined baking trays and leave to cool and set hard, for 30 minutes.

STEP 8 For the caramel sauce, put the sugar into a medium pan. Add 3tbsp of water and stir carefully with your fingers until the mixture feels like wet sand.

STEP 9 Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil to a dark caramel, swirling the pan occasionally. Do not stir.

STEP 10 Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream (careful as it might splatter). Add the salt, then pour the mixture into the other lined baking tray and leave to cool. Transfer to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.

STEP 11 For the Swiss meringue buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and continuously whisk until the mixture reaches 125°f on a sugar thermometer.

STEP 12 Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until the meringue is cool to touch. Once cool, whisk in the unsalted and salted butter, a cube at a time, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens. Add the cooled caramel sauce and mix well to combine.

STEP 13 Divide the buttercream equally between 2 bowls. Stir the chopped stem ginger into one of the bowls. Chill until required.

STEP 14 For the dripping sauce, put the sugar, syrup and butter into a medium pan. Place the grated fresh ginger in a piece of muslin and wring out the juice into the pan. Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has melted. Stir in the cream and salt and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a shallow container and leave to cool. Chill for 30 minutes, until cold.

STEP 15 To assemble, place one of the sponges on a cake stand. Drizzle over 2tbsp of the stem ginger syrup, then cover with half of the stem ginger buttercream. Place a sponge on top and drizzle with the remaining stem ginger syrup, then top with the remaining stem ginger buttercream. Top with the remaining sponge.

STEP 16 Place half of the plain buttercream in a medium piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Use the other half to cover the top and sides of the cake, then freeze for about 10 minutes.

STEP 17 Break the cinder toffee into small and large pieces. Pour the dripping sauce into a medium disposable piping bag. Remove the cake from the freezer, then snip the end off the piping bag and drizzle the sauce over the top and down the sides of the cake.

STEP 18 Pipe spirals of buttercream around the top of the cake, then decorate the middle with large shards of cinder toffee. Put smaller pieces of cinder toffee around the base of the cake. Finally, scatter the crystallized ginger over the top, to decorate.