It’s Christmas in just two weeks you guys!! How is this even possible? I’m sure it was just yesterday that we kicked off the new year and I was celebrating my birthday. In actual fact though, yesterday saw us put up our Christmas tree and get the house decorated – all while singing along to carols far too loudly, imbibing festive cocktails and commencing the first of our Christmas baking. That’s my favourite part (or maybe it’s the cocktails).
I think it can be agreed that nothing quite beats the comforting aroma of ginger and spice baking their way through the prelude to Christmas, but if I am to perfectly tiptoe on the edge of honesty right now, I need to be play devil’s advocate and admit that I am not a huge fan of ye olde gingerbread.
Yes, I know! I’m just terrible. And while I acknowledge that Christmas and gingerbread are an obvious and sacred combination, it’s just not my bag. And I kind of like the fact that, like Christmas, gingerbread is only really a thing for a short time each year. I think it comes for my general overall disdain for biscuits and cookies – I’m just not that into them.
The smell of gingerbread on the bake though… wowsers. It gets me every time. And I figure if this is my standard reaction, then gingerbread can’t be all bad. So while my husband takes the kids for their annual stroll to gingerbread man town, I thought I might take a solo tour through a place a little less traditional… the world of gingerbread cake! And boy, I’m glad I did.
It really is essentially exactly how it sounds; all the best parts of gingerbread (the spiciness and warmth) having a dance with the soft, fluffiness texture of cake… it’s bursting with holiday flavours and the hassle of rolling out dough and cutting out perfect cookies is non-existent. Win, win, win.
Oh and as if this little party of flavours couldn’t get any more festive, I invited our little old friend eggnog along too. Paired with a dash of spiced rum, this combination can’t possibly fail to lift one’s spirits.
Seriously though, the glaze is what sets this cake apart from any other. It perfectly balances out the cake, which isn’t overly sweet on its own – drizzled over the top it’s the perfect accent to the delicately spiced crumb. Oh and speaking of the crumb, just check out its perfect structure:
The other thing that gets me about this festive sweet is how easy it is to do and even when serving, it’s just stunning in its simplicity. Look, I’m all for fancy semi-naked layer cakes with three types of curd, two flavours of frosting, a perfect caramel drizzle and a crowning forest of wildflowers, but sometimes you just want something you can quickly throw together that still looks amazing, knocks people’s socks off and involves zero buttercream (because Christmas is a rather warm affair here in the southern hemisphere and it just doesn’t cut the mustard).
All that being said, I really don’t think it’s possible for there to be a more perfect Christmas cake. There, I said it.
And while I’m acknowledging little truths whilst tooting on my culinary horn, I will admit that I am well and truly aware that a gingerbread cake may not be the most individual and unique festive recipe you will come across this year (Lordy, there’s a gazillion of them out there in internet–land), but this is my version and I am awful proud of it. The cake is moist and full of gingery, cinnamon, nutmeggy flavour, spliced with the sweetness of the eggnog glaze. Spike it with rum, and you’re onto a new holiday tradition that your family will love – no rolling pin required!
Gingerbread Loaf Cake with Eggnog and Spiced Rum Glaze
full of gingery, cinnamon, nutmeggy flavour, spliced with the sweetness of the eggnog glaze. Spike it with rum, and you’re onto a new holiday tradition that your family will love – no rolling pin required!
- For the cake:
- 2 ¾ cups self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon all spice
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup golden syrup
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 eggs
- For the glaze:
- 1 ½ cups icing sugar
- ¼ cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon spiced rum
Preheat oven to 180C. Generously grease and line a 1.5kg loaf tin.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar and syrup; stirring well until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk. Set aside to cool and once lukewarm, beat the eggs in well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and combine well to create a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin, place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean).
Allow to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
To make the glaze, whisk the eggnog and rum into the powdered sugar. Add more eggnog or sugar until the mixture is at your desired consistency.
Just before serving, generously drizzle the glaze onto the cooled cake. Decorate with sprigs of rosemary, dried cranberries, or a dusting of ground nutmeg. Enjoy!