This delectable spiced fresh ginger cake recipe has become a firm family favourite recently as it is just perfect for taking the edge off these chilly winter days. It is lovely and moist, with a distinctively rich and spicy flavour, is actually pretty nutritious (for a cake!) and is easily made to be gluten free, vegan and low sugar. I made a large one last month to celebrate the winter solstice at a Vic Herbs event, and every last crumb was gobbled up.
The key ingredient of course is lots of fresh ginger. This is not a tepid ginger cake by any means! Ginger has an incredibly long history of medicinal use; approximately 2,500 years in China and India for nausea, headaches, rheumatism and of course the common cold. Click here for further information about the medicinal history of ginger, as well as winter warming recipes and remedies.
Another integral ingredient is black strap molasses. Black strap molasses is a byproduct of sugar refinement (it is the third cycle of boiling sugar cane juice) and has the highest nutritional profile and lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product. I love incorporating organic black strap molasses into my family’s regular diet as it is an excellent source of non-heme (plant based) iron – it contains approximately 3.5mg of iron in each tablespoon (19% of RDI for women). It is also a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper and selenium. The combination of both Calcium and Magnesium make it an ideal supplement for improving bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Make sure to always choose organic blackstrap molasses to protect your own health against the harms of added sulphurs and residual pesticides that result from industrial sugar cane farming. Choosing organic also helps to protect our treasured Great Barrier Reef against the increased quantities of pesticides and nutrients that run off from cane farms into the Barrier reef lagoon.
I found this great recipe from epicurious, used it as a starting point and jumped off from there. As always, feel free to experiment with the quantities of spices and flavours. I prefer to use double the amount of ginger to make a super turbo charged ginger flavour and although the kids mentioned that it was “quite” gingery, they still ate every piece! In fact, they got started before I even had a chance to take a picture.
110g Fresh Ginger (or double it if you want it to be super gingery)
½ cup raw sugar
250g flour (I made mine gluten free by using a combination of Chickpea flour, coconut flour, Rice flour and arrowroot flour - this great guide is a fantastic resource for making up your gluten free flour combos)
2 tsp of cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 cup mild tasting oil (I use grapeseed oil). ½ cup black strap molasses
1 cup cooked apples or ½ cup honey/rice syrup/maple syrup.
1 cup of water
2 tsp of bicarb
2 eggs or vegan alternative
Preheat oven to 220°C, and grease your cake tin. I have used a variety of different shaped tins, but am particularly in love with the bundt tin as it ensures even heat distribution and no soft bits in the middle.
If you have a food processor or blender, use it to quickly whizz up the fresh ginger and sugar. Otherwise, use a grater to finely grate the ginger (no need to peel it), then mix in the sugar.
In a separate small bowl, sift the flour and spices and put aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, molasses and wet sweetener/s and put aside. Hint:Measure out the oil first, then use the same cup to measure the molasses so it slides out nice and easily.
Bring the water to the boil, then stir in the bicarb
Pour the bicarb/water mixture into the molasses oil mixture. It will begin to foam a bit.
Gently whisk the flour mixture into the molasses/oil mixture. I use a whisk because otherwise the flour sits in clumps on top of all that liquid.
Whisk the eggs or vegan alternative in the empty flour bowl (because you don’t want to do any more dishes than absolutely necessary). Then add the egg to the cake batter and mix in gently.
Pour cake into a pregreased and lined cake tin and bake for approximately 1 hour.
Allow the cake to cool or enjoy it whilst still warm. I always love getting feedback, so please do let me know how you go with the recipe.