Updated: Dec 26, 2021
Christmas is my favourite time of the year and also a great excuse to spice up your dessert table with this Gingerbread spiced caramel cake with candied walnuts.
Equipment: 160mm diameter x 90 mm height baking tin
Yield: 1 tiered cake
130g Caster Sugar
160g Unsalted butter
100g Egg (2 large egg)
150g Golden Syrup
500g Plain Flour
8g Bi-carbonate soda
1½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
1½ tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cloves
1tsp Fine salt
315 g Hot Water
200g Caster Sugar
90g Unsalted salted butter, room temperature cut up into 6 pieces
120ml Cream 35% Fat
1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
CARAMEL SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
120 g Egg Whites - room temperature
250 g Dark Brown Sugar
340 g Unsalted Butter- cubed and softened to room temperature
150 g Walnuts
100 g Water
200 g Caster Sugar
100 g Cream 35% Fat
100 g Dark Chocolate
10 g Glucose
Cranberries or other fruits
FOR THE GINGERBREAD CAKE
1. Pre heat the oven to 175°C. Pre line the baking tin with a disc of parchment paper at the base and a strip around the sides with approximately 5 cm higher than the rim of the tin.
Note: If you do not have the specific tin with that height, you can divide the batter to a more shallow baking tin and it will work the same.
Place the butter and sugar into a stand mixer bowl and cream the two together until light and airy.
2. Add in the egg and mix until fully combined, followed by the sifted dry ingredients and continue to mix until they batter are well mixed through.
Gradually steam in the hot water while mixing on low speed until all the water has been added. Scrape down the base of the bowl to prevent any lumps of batter from being trapped underneath.
3. Once the cake batter is homogenous, transfer into the prepared baking tin.
4. Bake in the pre heated oven on the lowest rack for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes or until when tested with a skewer, it comes out clean.
Note: Baking time can vary due to the infrequent heat of different ovens. It is recommended that you do the skewer test from 45 minutes onwards and keep checking every 5 to 10 minutes to avoid over baking the cake.
5. Once the cake is baked, remove the cake from the oven and let it sit in the hot tin for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it over to remove the cake from the tin.
6. Allow the cake to fully cool.
7. Once the cake has fully cool, trim the top off and divide the cake horizontally to five equal slices of approximately 2cm thick for each slice. The thickness can vary depending on how much you have trimmed off the top.
You can opt to use a slightly smaller cake ring to trip off the crust on the side of each cake slices or use the cake slices as is.
Note: The cake can be wrapped divided or as a whole into the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply thaw it before assembling.
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
1. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Set aside ready to use.
2. Place the sugar into a separate saucepan and heat the sugar while gently stirring it occasionally from the side to the centre (to prevent the side from burning too quickly, especially if you are using a gas stove) until the sugar has fully dissolved and start to turn to a light golden in colour.
Note: If you are using a smaller saucepan for the sugar, you will need to add in the sugar in separate additions. Let the first lot of sugar to dissolve over the heat before adding in the second addition. This is to ensure that the sugar has space to dissolve, preventing clumps of sugar in the caramel.
3. Turn off the heat, add in the room temperature butter and gradually stream in the hot cream to deglaze the caramel and whisk to combine.
4. Return the caramel to low heat, add the sea salt and continue to gently whisk the caramel for 1 minute to thicken.
Pour the caramel into a sterilised microwavable jar and reserve until ready to use.
Note: Caramel will start to thicken in the jar as it cools. If you want to bring it back to a fluid consistency, simply microwave it for 20 seconds or so to soften.
FOR THE CANDIED WALNUTS
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and stir to combine. Let the mixture boil without too much agitation until all the sugar are dissolved.
2. Turn the heat off and add in the untoasted walnuts and gently stir until all the nuts are coated in the syrup.
3. Strain the walnuts then transfer onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Toast in the pre-heated oven for 12 minutes, tossing the nuts half way through baking.
Once the nuts are toasted, remove from the oven. The sugar will start to form a crust around the nuts as it cools.
FOR THE CARAMEL SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
1. Place egg whites and sugar into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
2. Place the mixer bowl sitting on top of a pot of simmering water (ensuring that the base of the bowl does not touch the water) while whisking continuously until it reaches 71°C or when you rub your fingers in some of the egg white mixture, you can longer feel the sugar granules.
3. Transfer the mixer bowl onto the mixer and whisk on medium to high speed until it starts to increase in volume and thickens to a stiff meringue.
4. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a paddle attachment.
Slowly add in the cubed room temperature butter that is malleable and is not too hard when pinched. The butter should lose shape when you try to pinch it but not melting in your hands.
5. Once all the butter has been added, add in the cooled caramel sauce and continue to mix until smooth.
Note: if the buttercream becomes too soft. place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before returning it to the mixer. The buttercream should have a spreadable consistency.
1. Place the first sliced cake onto a cake board. Pipe a spiral of buttercream on top of the cake then drizzle some cool caramel on top. Sprinkle with some candied walnuts then place the second layer of the sliced cake on top.
Repeat the same process until you have place the last layer of cake on top.
2. Spread the buttercream on the top and on the side to rough mask the cake. Place the masked cake into the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
3. Pipe the cooled ganache on top of the chilled cake then decorate the top and sides with gingerbread cookies and fruits.