Tag: ginger

Oh hey honey

October 31st. 19C in London, beautiful sunshine.

November 1st. Fog, cold, winter has arrived.

Don’t you just love the British weather?! Its unpredictability is a constant irritation to me but I do adore the seasons. I’m very glad I don’t live somewhere that’s variations on one temperature all year round.

It’s starting to feel a little festive this week at Fabrefaction HQ. It’s bonfire night on Thursday, and we are having a housewarming party this weekend to welcome the new housies. It would be rude not to provide our guests with some treats, and even ruder not to acknowledge the approach of Mr Frost.

So here we are, the perfect recipe to bridge autumn and winter, mini gingerbread and honey cupcakes. If you don’t fancy the hassle you could always make this as a traybake, perhaps doubling the recipe (I halved it).


You will need

For the cake:

250g/9 oz plain flour

100g/3.5 oz golden syrup

75g/2.5 oz light soft brown sugar

75g/2.5 oz lard (yes, lard)

40g/1.5 oz treacle

140ml/4.5 fl oz milk

1 egg

1 tsp ground ginger (feel free to add more)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:

300g/10.5 oz icing sugar

150g/5.25 oz unsalted butter

6 tbsp runny honey

For the sugar shards:

100g/3.5 oz caster sugar

(makes 35 mini cakes)


Step one

Melt the lard, golden syrup and treacle over a low heat.

Yes the lard will separate and create a glossy sheen on the surface, and yes you will think how unappetising it looks, but trust me on this one…it’s one of those recipes passed from generation to generation in my family, I’m just giving it a little facelift and daren’t replace the lard, just in case somehow Grandma is watching.


Step two

Combine the sugar, ginger, flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Make a well in the middle and start to whisk in the egg. Stop when you get to the consistency in the third picture down because otherwise you risk making lumps you won’t be able to get out.

Step three

Pop the milk in the microwave to heat for 30 seconds to a minute until warm. Add to the centre of the mixture and continue to whisk gently until the milk and the egg are combined, but again don’t try and mix in all the flour.


Step four

Pour in the melted treacle, golden syrup and lard mix and stir until it’s all mixed together.


Step five

Spoon the mixture into your cases. I got a bulk order of these paper condiment cups last year for the hot chocolate stirrers I made for Christmas. I will NEVER find a way to use them all up.

If you have normal mini cupcake/muffin cases the same rules apply, about a teaspoon and a half of mixture in each. You will probably need to put them in a muffin tin though. These little cases had enough of their own structure so I put them on a baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes on 180C/gas mark 4/350F.


Step six

Whisk together the icing/frosting ingredients, make sure to cover your bowl with a tea towel; icing sugar will make your kitchen sticky for weeks otherwise.

Step seven

Confession time. I didn’t photograph this stage. Partly because I was a bit grumpy, partly because my camera was running out of battery and partly because my level of clumsiness, hot sugar and baking selfies are not a strong combination. Forgive me.

All you need to do to make the decorative caramel shards is gently heat the caster sugar in a saucepan until the vast majority has melted and turned caramel in colour. Don’t stir, don’t swish, just wait.

Remove from heat and lay out a sheet of greaseproof paper. With a fork trail the caramel back and forth across the paper. It will need to cool a little until it is stringy enough to do this, but it will get there. You don’t have to make individual cake toppers, just criss cross to make one massive one and break it up to get the shards.

It’s waaaaaay easier than you’d think and super effective looking.

(If you aren’t eating your cakes that day I recommend saving this step until the day of. I’m freeing most of mine bare and decorating them on party day)


Step eight

Ice your cakes however you please, I’m a diehard fan of the piping bag. I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on mine before adding the caramel shards.





Crabbie birthday to you

Another week another birthday. This time round it’s my lovely housemate who is bravely entering her mid-twenties; just another excuse for me to get in the kitchen.

Earlier in the week Vicky (the birthday girl in question), Matt (the fiance) and I, had sat down to watch The Princess Bride (a hilarious farce of a film), and we cracked open some Crabbie’s. It was such a lovely little evening, and I thought I would bake the experience into a cake to commemorate the little one’s birth.

Crabbie’s, for anyone who doesn’t know (more fool you), is alcoholic ginger beer. This particular batch was raspberry flavoured, and  nobody was more surprised than me to discover how nicely ginger and raspberry complement each other. Add to that a honey and vanilla icing and you’ve got a birthday cake fit for any 24 year old.


You will need

For the cake:

255g/9 oz self raising flour

255g/9 oz caster sugar

255g/9 oz margarine/butter (I use stork for cakes)

4 eggs

2 tsp ground ginger (add a bit more if you want a really strong ginger taste, 2 tsp is nice and subtle)

1 tsp vanilla extract/paste

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g/7 oz raspberries

For the icing/decoration:

350g/12 oz icing sugar

150g/5 oz softened butter

170g/6 oz honey

1-2 tsp vanilla extract/paste (or even a pod if you have one so you get the lovely flecks)

100g/3.5 oz raspberries


Step one

Using an electric whisk beat together the margarine and sugar until well blended and fluffy.

Step two

Add the eggs and beat again until combined. It looks a little split at this stage (see those little lumps at the sides) but you don’t need to worry, the flour never fails to sort that out.


Step three

Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger and whisk again until smooth.

I also added the vanilla at this point which is in the form great paste my friend brought me back from Vanuatu, tastes delicious and has the beans in it. If you aren’t swinging by the South Pacific any time soon and don’t fancy the investment in a pod or some paste then extract will do the trick.


Step four

Add the raspberries and stir them in with a wooden spoon. I crushed some of them with the back of the spoon against the side of the bowl to help distribute them a little better.


Step five

Spoon into a greased and lined tin, or two tins. Bake on 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

If you are just using a single tin you need about 45-55 minutes and make sure you line the sides so that the greaseproof protects the sides and top of the cake from burning. If you are using two separate tins 35-40 minutes should do the trick, and you only need to line the bottoms of the tins.


Step six

Whisk together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and honey for the icing. Cover the bowl with a tea towel before turning on the whisk so you don’t get covered in icing sugar.


Step seven

Once the cake has completely cooled assemble it. Use just under half the icing in the middle and the rest on top.

I then decorated with the remaining raspberries, but feel free to get creative!



Ginger breading fun 2014

Hello again. Just a little post with some photos of this year’s gingerbread house. I said back in this post that I would start to theme them, which I’m afraid I didn’t have the inspiration for in the end, but it does have a balcony which was my engineering feat of the year.

For those of you looking to squeeze a bit of gingerbread house making into what’s left of Christmas eve, other than needing your head examining, you might find the posts I did last year useful:

#1: Gingerbread house recipe

#2: How to assemble a gingerbread house

#3: Tips for decorating a gingerbread house

Now for the good bit…

Gingerbread house 2014







Have a wonderful Christmas all