About this recipe
- FLAVOUR: when warming cosy spices meets sweet caramelised white chocolate. The flavours in this cake work perfectly together!
- TEXTURE: the gingerbread sponge is soft and moist, and the buttercream is creamy and light. Decorating with sprinkles and gingerbread people adds a crunchy texture too.
- EASE: showstopper cakes always appear a little challenging, but this recipe is pretty straightforward. Gingerbread sponge, buttercream and a few festive decorations. That’s it!
- PERFECT FOR: all kinds of Christmas celebrations.
There are three main parts to making this gingerbread cake
- Gingerbread spice sponge
- Caramelised white chocolate buttercream
- Festive decorations
Let’s talk through each part, starting with the gingerbread spiced sponge:
Aside from the usual cake ingredients like butter, eggs and flour, a few extra ingredients make this sponge gingerbread flavoured. I’ve swapped white caster sugar for light brown sugar and added some black treacle to make the sponge moist and soft. Ground ginger and cinnamon spice are used to flavour the sponge mixture, bringing that cosy gingerbread flavour. The mixture is divided between two cake tins and baked for 40-45 minutes until risen and golden.
Next up is the caramelised white chocolate buttercream:
It’s difficult to put into words how delicious this buttercream is. Caramelised white chocolate tastes exactly as it sounds… sweet, caramelly and chocolatey. Now imagine it melted and mixed into a buttercream – yum! Aside from the chocolate, a key ingredient to this buttercream is the salted butter, emphasis on salted. Using salted butter balances the sweetness of the chocolate and icing sugar, making the buttercream deliciously moreish rather than sickly sweet. If you only have unsalted butter, you can use it, but add a generous pinch of table salt to buttercream too.
Add some festive decorations for the finishing touch:
There are so many different ways to decorate this gingerbread cake, from sprinkles to buttercream swirls, gingerbread people to snowy christmas trees; get creative and have some fun with it.
I decided to decorate the bottom half of the cake with a homemade mix of festive sprinkles, pushing them into the buttercream. Leftover buttercream was used for piping swirls on top of the cake, and my Biscoff Gingerbread recipe was perfect for making gingerbread people and stars to stick to the sides and on top of the cake.
Recipe tips and troubleshooting
- Use Stork margarine instead of butter for a softer, lighter sponge. I’ve found that it also helps the cake rise with a flatter top.
- Add a spoonful of flour each time you add an egg to the cake mixture to stop it from curdling.
- Try not to open the oven door for at least 30-35 minutes of the baking time. Otherwise the hot air will escape and this sudden temperature change will cause your cakes to sink in the middle.
- To check if the cakes are ready to come out of the oven, gently press your finger into the middle of the sponge. If the cake springs back, it’s ready. If it leaves a dent, bake for another 2-3 minutes.
- Take extra care when slicing the sponges in half to ensure they’re level. Wonky cake layers = a wonky cake.
- These tools make cake decorating much easier: turntable, offset icing spatula, cake smoother.
- Crumb-coat the cake to ensure a smooth, clean buttercream finish. A crumb-coat is a thin layer of buttercream applied to the top and sides of the cake to seal in the crumbs. The cake is then placed in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up the buttercream before the final coat is applied.
- When applying the final coat of buttercream, dip your spatula in boiling water and dry with kitchen roll to get a really smooth buttercream finish. The heat from the spatula with warm up the buttercream and smooth out any air bubbles or bumps.
Quick links to equipment
Gingerbread Cake with Caramelised White Chocolate Buttercream
For the gingerbread cake
- 300 g Unsalted butter or margarine I like to use Stork margarine
- 300 g Light brown sugar
- 3 large Eggs at room temperature
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 40 g Black treacle
- 300 g Self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp Ground ginger
- 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
- 100 ml Milk
For the caramelised white chocolate buttercream
- 200 g Caramelised white chocolate I used Cadbury Caramilk
- 350 g Salted butter
- 750 g Icing sugar
- 3 tbsp Milk
For the decoration
- Gingerbread people either homemade of shop-bought
- Festive sprinkles
Start by making the gingerbread cake
- Preheat the oven to 160°C fan / 140°C conventional. Line the base and sides of two 7-inch round cake tins.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a separate large bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each, until well combined. To stop the mixture from curdling, add 1 tbsp of the 300g flour with each egg.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and black treacle.
- Add the rest of the flour, ginger, cinnamon, and milk. Fold everything together to make a smooth mixture.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the baking tins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes until risen, golden and springy to the touch. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Make the caramelised white chocolate buttercream
- Break the chocolate into a bowl and melt in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Beat the butter until soft and pale in colour. Sift in the icing sugar in two stages and mix until smooth. If the buttercream feels a little stiff, add the milk a tablespoon at a time.
- Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and fold together until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
Assemble and decorate the cake
- If the cakes have domed, level them off with a knife so they're flat on top. Then slice each sponge horizontally to make four layers.
- Place one of the layers on a cake board or pretty plate and spread a 1cm thick layer of buttercream on top, then sandwich with another layer. Repeat this will the next two layers.
- Now apply a thin buttercream crumb-coat on the top and sides of the cake, it doesn't have to be super neat. A crumb-coat will seal in the crumbs so the final coat of buttercream goes on smooth and crumb-free.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and firm up the buttercream.
- Now apply the final buttercream coat to the top and sides. It helps to use a cake scraper to get a smooth finish.
- For the decoration, use up any leftover buttercream by piping swirls on top of the cake, then finish with sprinkles and gingerbread people.
- Slice and enjoy!
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