Ginger Spice Takes Malaysia


This palm sugar ginger cake turned out beautifully.
Last week, 3-4 days after I made it, I pierced through it with a toothpick in a grid configuration, and poured an apple juice – cognac mixture over it. Will do this again next month. Hopefully by Christmas this will taste as amazing as it smells.

This is a moist, dense cake. Don’t expect it to be docile, my ducks. Things that are worth it seldom are.

Image : hwayoungjung

Recipe is inspired by Delia’s Jamaica Ginger Cake, and well, I miss McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake a lot. Had it loads for tea in Wales.

Says McVitie’s:

“There’s no mystery as to why our Jamaica Ginger Cake is so popular however. Rich, moist, and expertly baked, it’s the delicious blend of secret spices and ginger, which makes for such a distinctive flavour. Its sticky texture means you may fight over who gets to scrape the paper liner but it’s brought slices of happiness to generation after generation!”

Re: Jamaica, let’s not talk about how I secretly want to live on an island. Forever.


Let’s start by explaining that I used fresh ginger. In the British style, and in most gingerbread/cake recipés, they use ginger powder. I’m thinking, hello, TTDI market helps me out in this department with the tumbuk rempah aunty filling RM1, 2, 3 tupperwares with any aromatic you can think of.

IMG_8045Butter and dust a 9-inch round baking tin with flour. Preheat your oven for 180C.

IMG_2215I didnt want to use sugar, treacle or golden syrup. So, get your hands on some good gula melaka. You know it’s good when it’s a little fudgy at room temp. Not rock hard. Like Fauziah Abdul Karim‘s (whose story begins in the dodol industry and is v.interesting!).


  • Sift 175g cake flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 3 tsps (1 tbsp) cinammon powder together. Your butter is salted, right? If it isn’t, add a pinch of salt now to the dry ingredients.


  • Measure out 225g gula melaka, melt with 3 tbsp water in a saucepan, low heat.
  • Add 75g butter to the pan. (I hope you used the wrapper to grease the baking tin).
  • Turn off heat, add 1 heaped tbsp raw ginger. Stir in. You’ll smell a toasty ginger smell bordering on savoury. Don’t worry. This isn’t the only ginger flavour profile we’re playing with.

Now comes the assembly part. Fun.

Fold about half of A into B. Use a rubber spatula, work in slicing motions, cleaning the sides of the bowl as you go. Don’t go mad stirring. You don’t want the gluten in the flour to activate and go postal on your cake, making it stiff.


  • Add 1 egg.
  • Add 2 tbsp of the ginger.

Stir. Gently. Add the rest of A.


Pour into tin, slide into the oven. Turn the heat down to 150-160C.

Check the cake after 30 minutes. Toothpick clean? No? Check every 10 minutes.

Once your toothpick comes out almost clean, turn off the heat (leave the fan on, if you can) and let the cake cool in the oven.

Remove the cake. Should come out easily, if you’ve dusted properly, and let it cool enough because it pulls back from the sides when it shrinks.

Poke the cake (about 1/2 way through)  in a grid pattern (5mm apart) with a toothpick or skewer, and pour over 3 tbsp cognac + 3 tbsp apple juice (or 6 tbsp cognac neat if you’re nutso and awesome). Wrap the thing in cling, let rest for half a day, then chuck in the fridge.

A month later, let warm to nearly room temp, repeat the poke and pour (on the other side of the cake). Pop back in fridge.

Consumption :

I don’t think one would ever want to eat this cold. Bring to room temp before consumption. Personally, I’d nuke the thing for a minute and have it with a cup of milky tea, maybe Earl Grey (citrus, yey.)

This is what’s in the McVitie’s version, by the way:

Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Wheat Flour, Water, Sugar, Vegetable Fat, Humectant (Sorbitol), Emulsifier (E471), Dried Whey, Colour (Plain Caramel), Milk Protein, Wheat Starch, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Stabiliser (Guar Gum), Dried Whole Egg, Wheat Protein, Salt, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Ginger Flavouring.


Enjoy, y’alls. And here’s to a rockin’ end of 2013!




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