This delicious 4-tiered gingerbread cake with brandy buttercream is a great way to impress your friends and family during the festive season. Topped with glace cherries, dried apricots and handfuls of chopped nuts, this mouth-watering cake is easier to make than it may look. The ginger infused sponge and the light brandy buttercream really complement each other – every bite is like a mouthful of Christmas! This recipe makes 2 layers of the gingerbread cake at a time – not everyone has the oven space to make 4 cakes at once! You can also make this into a simple 2 layer sandwich cake if you prefer. Each layer should take about 15-20 mins to cook.
- For the cake (2 layers):
- 220g butter
- 300g light muscovado sugar
- 6tbsp black treacle
- 6tbsp golden syrup
- 6 med eggs
- 250ml milk
- 700g plain flour
- 3tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch of salt
- 8tsp ginger
- 3tsp cinnamon
- For the buttercream:
- 450g icing sugar
- 150g butter
- 1-2tbsp brandy
- To decorate:
- Glace cherries
- Dried apricots
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Flaked almonds
- Mixed peel
- Cranberries (dried or cooked)
Before you start making your gingerbread cake with brandy buttercream, preheat the oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line 2x 20cm round cake tins with greaseproof paper – you’re going to start by making tier 1 and 2 of your cake.
Gently heat the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle in a saucepan on a low heat stirring often.
Whilst you’re waiting for the butter to melt and sugar to dissolve, measure and combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and pinch of salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Leave to one side.
Once the sugar has dissolved in the saucepan take off the heat and continue to stir to cool the mix down. Gradually add in the eggs, continuously stirring. Next add in the milk. You can use a whisk at this point or just continue to beat with a wooden spoon.
Pour the wet mixture in with the dry ingredients and stir/fold until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Separate the mixture into even portions in the 2 x 20cm cake tins and bake in oven for 15-20 mins until golden and springy to touch. If your cakes cook outside in and seem a little wobbly on top, just cover with tin foil and continue to cook for a further 5 mins.
If you’re making a 4-layer cake repeat step 2,3,4 and 5 to make your next 2 tiers of the cake. Once you’ve combined all the ingredients, leave the mixture to one side.
Take your first 2 cakes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 mins. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes and then pop out onto a wire rack to cool. If the greaseproof paper is still stuck to the bottom of your tin you can reuse the tin without washing. If not wash your tins up, dry and line with a fresh piece of greaseproof and repeat step 6.
Once tier 3 and 4 are cooked, turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Make up your buttercream by mixing the icing sugar, butter and brandy together. Gradually add in the brandy and taste as you go – some might like it stronger than others so you can be the judge.
In a separate bowl add a handful of each of the fruits and nuts and stir with a wooden spoon.
It’s now time to assemble your cake. Spoon a little of the buttercream onto your cake plate and pop on the base layer, the buttercream will help to hold the cake in place. Cover the base layer in a light spread of the buttercream using a palette knife or spatula. Once you’re happy with the buttercream layer, add your next cake and repeat until you’ve stacked all 4 tiers of the cake.
For the top of the cake, draw a circle in the middle using a palette knife and fill in with the buttercream. Take handfuls of the mixed fruits and nuts and drop into the middle of the buttercream circle letting the fruits and nuts fall wherever they please.
Your cake is now ready to be served. To store, cover in tin foil and wrap in a plastic bag. It should keep for up to 3-4 days.
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If you don't like brandy you could add orange extract or vanilla extract to add a different flavour to the buttercream