Ginger Cake Signature Challenge

We love spice at our house. From curries to wings to desserts, we definitely live the spicy life. And so it was with much excitement from my husband and kids that we have begun Spice Week, starting with the ginger cake signature challenge.

Paul and Prue warned the bakers about fresh ginger losing its zing as it bakes, but I use such a liberal amount in the following recipe, along with powdered ginger, that it still packs a punch. If you tried my gingerbread cookie recipe, this is the cake version. In addition, I filled the ginger cake with a bright mandarin orange curd and coated it with honey cream cheese frosting. It’s a cup of tea in cake form!

ginger cake frosted with honey cream cheese icing


  • To keep the curd from developing a skin, cover with cling film by layering the plastic right on the curd. You can also just whisk the skin in with the mixture to dissolve it before using.
  • Use cake strips aka cake belt if you want to get a flat top on your cake. This saves you the trouble of having to level the top.
  • Use a small squeeze bottle to create the drips.
  • This frosting is very soft and is not pipable. Make sure you freeze the cake with the crumb coat before smoothing the final coat. An hour or two is fine. Freeze again if you want to add sprinkles to the side of the cake.

Ginger Cake Recipe

  • 250g (1 c / 2 sticks) butter
  • 250g (1 c) brown sugar
  • 100g (~1/3 c) molasses
  • 375g (3 c) plain flour
  • 5 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbs  fresh grated ginger root
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 240ml (1 c) vegetable oil
  • 300ml (1 1/4 c) milk
  • 2 tsp baking soda
slice of layered ginger cake filled with mandarin orange curd
The bright orange curd complements the warm ginger flavor.

Mandarin Orange Curd

  • 175ml (3/4 c) fresh squeezed orange juice (strain out seeds)
  • 25g (1/8 c) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 113g (1/2 c / 1 stick) butter, cubed


  1. Make the mandarin orange curd filling.
    • Combine juice, eggs and sugar in a medium saucepan, and whisk to combine.
    • Add the butter and heat on medium / medium-low until butter is completely melted, stirring regularly.
    • Keep stirring until the mixture is thickened to a runny custard consistency, about 6 – 8 minutes. It should be coating the back of the spoon and you should be able to draw lines on the mixture with the spoon.
    • Pour curd through a strainer and into a separate bowl. Set aside to cool.
  1. Grease and line three 6 x 2-inch round tins (or one 6 x 2 and one 6 x 3-inch tins) with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 325F/160C.
  2. Gently heat the margarine, sugar and treacle together in a pan, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool a little.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and ground spices. Pour in the treacle mix and stir thoroughly to combine. Add the fresh ginger, eggs, oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Warm the milk gently in a saucepan, stirring gently to avoid it burning at the base of the pan. Add the baking soda and let it foam a little. Stir into the gingerbread mixture until well blended.
  5. Pour into the prepared tins. Bake 25-30mins or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 60g (1/4 c) softened butter
  • 230g (1 c) softened cream cheese
  • 114g (1/3 c) honey
  • 110 – 220g (1 – 2 c) confectioners sugar


  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and honey until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired sweetness and consistency.

Putting it all together

Level the cake layers so you have four total. Create a border using the frosting and put in the orange curd inside the border. Put the 2nd layer on top and repeat. Do the same for layer three and top with layer 4. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting.

overhead view of frosted ginger cake


Get exclusive content for even more baking adventures! You’ll find the Spice Week signature and technical challenge recipes on the blog, but the showstopper challenge recipe is only available to subscribers. Get the all the recipes for Spice Week by signing up for the But First, Dessert email list!



Author: Jorina Fontelera

I love eating carbs, feeding people and watching the Great British Bake Off (aka in the US, the Great British Baking Show). I'll be chronicling my attempts at all the challenges per GBBO season.

30 thoughts

  1. The orange curd combined with the ginger sounds out of this world! I love the thoughtful combination of flavors, and the beautiful exterior of the cake as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This cake is gorgeous! In my opinion, there could never been too much ginger! Bring it on. Hahaha. I will usually add both grated fresh ginger and ground ginger to any recipe that calls for ginger. We love the kick and the warm heat that comes from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We love spice at our house, too! I try to ad it everywhere I can although trying not to go over the top with it. It always adds so much zing to my dishes. I can imagine how delicious this cream cheese frosting is 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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