Recipe: Ruby Tandoh’s three-day whisky gingerbread loaf cake

15 October 2018

We couldn’t let National Baking Week kick off without sharing a recipe from our favourite baker, Ruby Tandoh. This delicious loaf cake that requires some TLC will make you fall in love with baking (if GBBO hasn’t already). 

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Loaf cake

Time is the secret ingredient here. I often make mug cakes that cook in the microwave, packets of cake mix that come with little rice paper cartoon characters to go on top, cheerful chocolate Rice Krispie cakes. All of these things are perfect in that moment, but sometimes I need a different kind of sweet fix. This cake will test your patience and your commitment to the cause: after baking, it needs a full three days of TLC before it’s ready to eat. You’ll need to swaddle it in foil, ‘feed’ it whisky and keep it safe from hungry hands as though nursing a small, boozy baby.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. In a medium saucepan set over a low heat, combine 75g each of salted butter and black treacle, and 100g of light brown sugar, and stir until melted and smooth. Take the pan off the heat, and whisk in 100ml of full-fat milk and two lightly beaten eggs. In a large bowl, mix 140g of plain flour, two teaspoons of ground ginger, half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, half a teaspoon each of bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, and a good pinch of ground nutmeg. Pour the wet mixture slowly into the dry ingredients, stirring constantly until the batter is more or less smooth. Pour into a 2lb/900g loaf tin and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until a small knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Immediately brush the top of the cake with a little whisky and leave to cool, then remove from the tin and wrap in kitchen foil.

Once a day, for two more days, unwrap the heavy little bundle and brush with a little bit more whisky. Smell the treacly, subtly boozy kick of the cake, and feel the springy, tender sides with your fingers. Imagine what it will taste like once it’s had a chance to rest, and its flavour has matured. At the end of the third day, the cake is ready. Mix 125g of icing sugar with just enough whisky to make a smooth, pourable glaze, and stir in the zest of half an orange. Pour over the cake and leave to set for an hour or so. Once it’s ready, slice the cake thickly, sit down and happily, hungrily eat. Big enough for 6–8 chunky slices.

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