It is always my joy to bake something wonderful for a family member’s birthday cake and every year, exactly one week before Christmas Eve, it’s my husband’s turn. He’ll say in the midst of my pre-Christmas frenzy “Please don’t put yourself under any more pressure”. But the truth is that without a special cake to stop and celebrate his existence at this time of year, the days would just merge into a blur of jingly-jangly Xmas activity.
However, the creation of this truly delicious Ginger Whisky Cake, baked in honour of John’s birthday, rather fortuitously morphed into more than just a one day wonder. If it had been my intention to create a healthy, gluten-free cake that tastes like a proper, matured Christmas cake without dried fruits, added sugar or grains, this is the one. It’s so good that the cake I’m making in the photos is the third one we and our visitors have enjoyed over the festive season, which has taken us all the way through to Twelfth Night!
Although this cake was inspired by an Abel & Cole recipe, I’ve removed the copious quantities of “damaging to your metabolism” refined sugar, sugar-substitutes (agave syrup is 90% fructose) and grains and replaced them with less than half the amount of sugar in the original recipe with low-carb sweeteners in the form of high-fibre tiger nut flour, Sukrin’s virtually 0% calorie erythritol-based Sukrin Gold and Sukrin Icing and their natural prebiotic plant sweetener, Fiber Sirup Gold. Getting my priorities straight, I’ve also added a significant amount of single malt whisky to the cake mix!
The result is a warming, spicy, celebration cake that Sarah declared would be her choice of wedding cake if she ever gets married! It keeps beautifully moist for a week or more in a cake tin if you let it, although I guarantee that neither you nor your family and friends will.
Ginger Whisky Cake (serves 14)
Ingredients - for the cake
100g organic unsalted butter, softened
100g Sukrin Gold
250g organic tiger nut flour
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
4 tsp organic ground ginger
2 tsp organic ground cinnamon
50ml Sukrin FiberSirup Gold
60g organic unsulphured molasses
3 large organic eggs
A chunk (about 25g) of fresh organic ginger root, peeled and finely grated
200g organic crystallised ginger, ‘uncrystallised’ (see Notes below) and finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon
60ml single malt whisky, preferably organic
Ingredients - for the lemon drizzle
Ingredients - for the icing
Heat your oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3. Grease and line the bottom and short sides of a 900g / 2lb loaf tin with a long strip of non-stick parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl, sift the tiger nut flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and baking powder together. Set aside.
Put the Sukrin Gold into a separate large bowl and add 100g softened butter. Beat well (using electric beaters if you have them) till light and fluffy.
Beat the Fiber Sirup Gold and molasses into the Sukrin Gold and butter until well incorporated, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour and spices through the sweetened butter mix until just combined.
Stir in the fresh ginger, ’uncrystallised’ ginger, lemon zest and whisky.
Spoon the batter into the loaf tin, levelling out the top.
Place into the oven and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted through the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the cake mix is still clinging to the skewer, return for a further 5 minutes before checking again.
To make the lemon syrup
When the cake is nearly ready, pour the lemon juice into a small pan and stir in the Fiber Sirup Gold (or Yakon Syrup - see Notes below).
Warm through over a medium heat, until it just begins to come to a simmer.
When the cake is cooked, poke deep holes all over the sponge with a skewer and drizzle the lemon syrup evenly all over. Allow the cake to cool in its tin before turning out.
To make the whisky icing
When the cake is cool, sift the Sukrin Icing sugar into a large bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk, beat in the butter until pale, smooth and light in texture. Add the whisky and continue to beat until fully combined.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake.
Serve with a cup of hot tea or freshly brewed coffee.
To ‘uncrystallise’ ginger:
- Place the crystallised ginger in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water to a depth of 2 inches.
- Soak the ginger until the water cools, stirring occasionally. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Repeat the soaking process once more.
- Rinse the drained ginger well in cold, freshly filtered water and spread out on a paper towel to dry.
N.B. I am not a food scientist and as far as I am concerned the jury is still out on most of the low-carb sweeteners touted as being "healthy". I believe organic stevia and monk fruit powder are possibly the best alternative sweeteners to replace table sugar and fructose. However, when it comes to baking it is ‘horses for courses’ because other sugar substitutes can often produce better results. Truly, the best strategy is to try and dampen down your sweet tooth by only eating sweet treats very occasionally.
When I first made this cake, yakon syrup was my first choice of sweetener to replace the agave syrup in Abel & Coles recipe. Yakon syrup is high in antioxidants and potassium and has been used for nutritional and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. It has a slight caramel taste (similar to blackstrap molasses), which complements the warming flavours of ginger and whisky. However, I subsequently discovered you should not use yacon syrup for baking, as its structure breaks down at high temperatures (over 120 C / 248 F).
You may use yakon syrup instead of Sukrin's Fiber Sirup for the lemon drizzle, if preferred. If you then find the lemon syrup too tart, add 3-4 drops of organic liquid stevia before pouring over the cake.
Sukrin Fiber Sirup is a natural, prebiotic plant fibre that the human body cannot easily digest. It ferments in the large intestine feeding the good bacteria in your gut, which contributes to our health and well-being by helping to stimulate immune function. Click here for more information.
The small amount of raw honey in the whisky icing balances out the cooling effect of erythritol. Organic blackstrap molasses serves as a nutritious alternative to refined sugar and adds a wonderful depth of flavour to the cake. Click here to read about the health benefits of molasses.
Fat 23g Protein 4g Carbohydrate 18g