This ginger lemon naked cake with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting, ginger molasses cookies, and caramelised white chocolate ganache is scrumptiously packed with the delightful aroma of ginger and lemon. It’s a treat that shall be enjoyed around the year!
I made this cake to celebrate my friend’s and my 23rd birthday together. Yes, however reluctant I want to deny it, I just turned 23 and I don’t want time to pass so quickly just yet. Anyway, I had one mission for myself and that is the fact that this cake’s flavour profile had to revolve around her duo favourites: ginger and lemon. Of course, it would be a crime not to add some soft, chewy ginger molasses cookies to the party. Given the cake’s Christmas vibe, It seems a bit early to make this post but hey, don’t forget there’s “Christmas in July” in Australia so I might as well jump on the bandwagon. That said, my friend, who is always my creative muse, did the cookie antlers and they look absolutely amazing.
I don’t post pictures of myself here often but I guess birthday is a pretty good excuse huh?
The cake itself is addictively delicious – it is buttery, moist and rich with a hint of freshness. To be honest, it’s hard for this flavour combination to go wrong. Let’s talk about a classic ginger cake with tangy lemon icing that you wouldn’t miss at Christmas time.
To make the cake a little bit more interesting, I decided to caramelised white chocolate ganache as the dripping. Why caramelised? I find white chocolate itself too sweet, but caramelising the chocolate makes it taste deeper and toasty. You may want to use a good quality white chocolate with a high cocoa butter percentage for this job. In case you’re wondering, I simply flipped the cake over when the ganache has set on the cake, and you can have this cool reverse drip effect. I hope you all enjoy the cake if you make it!
Ginger Lemon Cake
- 380g all purpose flour
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 400g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g brown sugar
- 250g molasses
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 180ml milk
- 120ml sour cream
- 1 lemon, zest and juice of
Ginger Molasses Cookie
- 270g all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 170g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g brown sugar
- 80g molasses
- 1 egg, room temperature
Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 150g egg white
- 225g caster sugar
- Pinch of cream of tar tar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Lemon, zest of
- 350g unsalted butter, room temperature
Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache
- 100g good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 150g pure cream
- 15g soften unsalted butter
For the ginger lemon cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
- Line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. This is your dry ingredients.
- In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar and molasses at a medium-high speed until well combined and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, and continue to beat until well incorporated. Scrap the bowl when necessary. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream and milk and mix until incorporated.
- Add the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture in three batches. Stir gently with a spatula to combine everything until no flour can be seen. Avoid over-mixing.
- Pour the mixture evenly into the three prepared cake tins. Tap the pans several times to break any air bubbles. Bake for around 35 -40 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
- Cool the cake for 15 minutes in their pans, then take them out and put them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cakes are cooled completely, use a serrated knife to trim the top of each cake until they are all of the same height (around 2-2.5cm), and the top is levelled and smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
For the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Add egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 60C (140F). Â The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
- Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Add cream of tar tar to it and whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.
- Turn to medium-high speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrap the bowl when necessary.The buttercream may split at first but panic, just continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add lemon juice and zest, and beat until well combined.
- Put the buttercream in a piping bag with a round nozzle until ready to use.
Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
- In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. These are your dry ingredients.
- In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses on medium high speed for 4-5 mins until pale and creamy.
- Add egg to the mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed until well mixed.
- Add the prepared dry ingredients. Beat for another 1-2 mins until well incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 mins until it firms up a bit for easy rolling later.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- After refrigeration, roll the chilled dough into balls, 40g each, and space each one about 2-inches apart on the sheet to allow space for spreading. Flatten the dough a bit with a spoon or your palm. Feel free to reserve some dough to make the butlers or any other shapes to your liking.
- Bake for 8-10 mins (depending on thickness and shape, don’t overbake). The cookies will feel soft when out of the oven but it will account for the chewiness when they cool down. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache
- Preheat your oven to 120C (250F).
- Break your white chocolate Into small pieces and place them in a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven and use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer.
- Continue to bake and stir every 10 mins, for around 30-40 mins until the chocolate has turned caramelised and golden brown.
- Transfer the caramelised white chocolate into a mixing bowl.
- Heat cream in a saucepan and bring it to almost boil. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 mins, and whisk until the chocolate emulsifies and becomes completely smooth.
- When the ganache has cooled down to 40C. Whisk in the soften butter until fully incorporated.
- Set aside in room temperature until ready to use.
*Put the ganache into a squeeze bottle if you have one for easier control
- Pipe a dollop of buttercream on the centre of the cake stand and place one cake layer on it to secure it.
- Using your piping bag filled with buttercream, pipe a swirl of buttercream on the cake. Using an off set spatula, spread the buttercream carefully to level it out and top it with the second cake layer.
- Repeat Step 2, and top it with the third cake layer.
- Spread the remaining frosting on top and all around the sides using an offset spatular. Use a large bench scraper to smooth out the frosting on the sides of the cake to create the “naked” effect. *Reserve some for frosting the top after you flip the cake and reserve some more to stick the cookies on the cake*
- Refrigerate the cake for 20-30 mins to set.
- When the buttercream is set, it’s time to do the dripping.
- If you have prepared the squeeze bottle, apply appropriate pressure to squeeze out ganache on the edge of the cake and let it drop naturally. Alternatively, you can carefully use a spoon for the job. *please check the consistency of ganache at this step – if it’s too firm, microwave for 10 seconds each time until it reaches the right consistency. If it’s too runny, refrigerate until ready to use. *
- When the ganache is set on the cake, carefully flip the cake over and use the remaining buttercream to frost the top.
- Break the ginger cookies in pieces and stick it on the side of the cake with the reserved buttercream.
- Decorate the cake as you like. I painted my ganache drip with gold paint and I used sprinkles, shredded coconut, and shaved chocolate as the toppings. Enjoy!