Thursday 14 December 2017

Gingerbread Village Cake

I shall probably need to break this down into separate recipes, as it's got a lot going on.

This was my attempt at a "showstopper" bake for a work competition (I won, closely beating out a 2½ year old's gingerbread men). The plan was for a tall cake, with a bit or artistry. I'd not done gingerbread biscuits before, however the core cake is basically the same structure as a Dobos Torte, which I find a very easy way of building a cake up reliably.

In no particular order, the ingredients are;
  • Gingerbread Sponge
  • Orange Curd
  • Chocolate Meringue Butterceam
  • Candied Orange Peel
  • Gingerbread
  • Royal Icing
  • White Chocolate Ganache

Gingerbread Sponge

A slightly denser version of my Fatless Sponge Recipe, with the following ingredients;
  • 5 large eggs
  • 200g dark muscavado sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 12g ground ginger
  • 4g ground cinnamon
  • 4g ground nutmeg
  • 4g ground cloves
I then made up 8 layers, baked on parchment paper, as described in my Jaffa Torte Recipe. These were 19cm in diameter,and then I used an 18cm cutting ring to get them all to size.

Orange Curd

This was made the day before, using my Lemon Curd recipe, but substituting in 60g of orange juice and the zest of 2 oranges instead of lemon ingredients. It doesn't have the zing of lemon curd, and I'd be tempted to trial a bit of spice (Cardamon?)in future, to add some depth of flavour.

Chocolate Meringue Buttercream

I really should do this up as a Basic recipe, as I use it an awful lot. it's a very good general purpose frosting, and sets well. You start with a base of Swiss Meringue, then this also uses;
  •  150g dark (70%) chocolate
  • 25g cocoa
  • 300g butter (room temperature)
Place the butter in a stand mixer and beat until very soft (really ,really soft).
Melt the chocolate over the bain-marie you're going to use for the swiss meringue. Best to do this before, as you want it to cool.
Once you've made the meringue, let it cool as well, then fold it and the chocolate into the butter.

Candied Orange Peel

I put a bit of this on top to (in a slightly pretencious way) show the cake flavours (so the orange curd is mirrored on the top, along with the gingerbread). I followed this BBC recipe, and did a big batch of orange, lemon and lime peel. You definitely want to do this ahead of time, as it's a long process (doing a second air dry overnight is not a bad idea).


I'll do this as a separate post, and then a link will Magically Appear Here! I'd never made it before, and actually it wasn't too bad. Ideally I'd have chilled it after cutting to stop any movement during baking, however I was able to use the icing to cover any gaps.

Royal Icing

Quite simply;
1 egg white
250g icing sugar
These were mixed together until smooth, and then put in a small piping bag with a small nozzle, and used as a contrast glue. It sets very strongly.

White Chocolate Ganache

This is the contrast colour on the decoration. I did my quick method (which I should write up, though it's very simle). The ratio for white chocolate is 2 parts chocolate to 1 part double-cream...I then microwave it for 10 seconds and stir...repeat until done.


I did a video of me assembling the base, using the 8 sponge discs, the buttercream and the orange curd (which I'm spreading on the cake layers before stacking them).

 This was chilled, and the white chocolate gaanche poured over the top and "encouraged" to drip. Chilling is the key here.

The gingerbread houses were fairly simple affairs as well. The roof parts and side walls were teh same size, with the front and back being half the width, with a tringle on top. I didn't even use a template, just cut them with a ruler. They were then assembled with the royal icing, and sliced almonds on top as tiles.

Finally, I scattered some candied orange peel over the top.