Pure Indulgence: Chocolate Ginger Cake

A slice of chocolate ginger cake

I tore the recipe for this cake from a magazine a few months ago and although I’ve been tempted to bake it a number of times, I just haven’t got round to it. Until now. When, for no particular reason, I decided that it was time…

And I must confess that my decision really is an act of pure indulgence. This cake hasn’t been baked it to mark an occasion – for a birthday or other celebration – I haven’t got friends coming round (although it’s possible that some may now appear), and I’m not planning to take it somewhere for a bake sale, or as a gift. These are my usual excuses for making something as decadent as this. Today, I simply had the urge to bake.

I’m often reluctant to try recipes from random magazines, especially when it comes to baking. It’s something I don’t have much experience of, so I generally prefer to draw from sources I’m already familiar with in order to increase my chances of success. But I’m pleased with the results here, and this cake certainly tastes fabulous. Ginger and chocolate is such an incredible combination, and the fresh chilli and coffee all help to cut through the sweetness, offering a well-balanced flavour. It’s also very rich, beautifully moist and should keep well for a few days – although I’m not sure that it’s going to be hanging around for very long.

The recipe is by Lily Vanilli, a baker and cake designer based in East London, whose bespoke creations look absolutely, incredibly stunning. I’ve never been to her bakery but am definitely going to be adding it to my ‘to-do’ list for the next time I’m in town.

Chocolate ginger cake

Chocolate Ginger Cake


8 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
19 ½ oz caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
15 oz plain flour, sifted
3 oz cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
380ml natural yogurt
4g fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 ¾ oz shredded fresh ginger
230ml strong brewed coffee, cooled
Grated chocolate and chilli flakes for decoration (optional)
For the vanilla buttercream
3 ½ oz unsalted butter, softened
10 ½ oz icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
75ml double cream
2 pieces of preserved stem ginger, finely chopped (optional – this is my addition)

chocolate ginger cake


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6. Line two 9 inch sandwich tins with baking parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugar for about 4 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on a slow speed, gradually increasing until just evenly incorporated.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half the dry ingredients to the better, followed by the yogurt, chilli and ginger. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, keeping beating to a minimum. Once you have a smooth, even batter, gradually add the coffee – it will be very wet, so beat slowly to incorporate.

Divide the mixture between the two prepared sandwich tins and level out to the edges. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter for 4-5 minutes on high speed. Add the sugar, vanilla and cream and beat on low speed to bring it together, then turn up to high speed and beat for a further 2-3 minutes. In order to highlight the ginger flavour of the finished cake, I also added 2 pieces of finely chopped stem ginger at this point.

Spread the buttercream between the layers and over the top of the cake. Decorate with chilli flakes and grated dark chocolate – or with anything else you like.

About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
This entry was posted in Food, Recipes, Sweet things and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Pure Indulgence: Chocolate Ginger Cake

  1. snati001 says:

    Love all the combination of flavors and spices you put into the chocolate cake. Looks really good!

  2. Susan says:

    This does sound utterly fantastic! I’m not a fan of very sweet desserts, so I love the flavor combination here.

  3. biccybiscuit says:

    That looks absolutely incredible! How did you get it to rise so much? My cakes turn out more like biscuits. Can you come up with a gluten free version?

    • Georgina says:

      Thanks! I was quite surprised at how well it turned out, but I was very careful to take lots of time with beating, whisking and sifting which does all help. It would certainly be more of a challenge to do this as a gluten free recipe, but I’ll have a play around with it and let you know if I come up with anything.

  4. Wonderful! I love the chocolate with ginger idea. I think I’ll make with a whipped cream topping. Your photo is great. thanks for the recipe!

  5. Karen says:

    Did you really use 19 1/2 oz of sugar? That seems like loads for a single cake?

    • Georgina says:

      Yes. The original (British) recipe called for 550g caster sugar, which converts to 19.4 oz. It’s a fairly large cake, but I agree that it’s a lot. Tastes good though!

  6. Pingback: Ganache Tarts Served Two Ways | The Fresh Princess of Bel Air

  7. TuesdaySue says:

    Oh yum! I’m so hungry now!

  8. Lorri says:

    Thanks, it’d be much appreciated.

    I’m not keen on conversion sites as they vary so much and don’t even agree with themselves! Is 3oz = 75g? Or is it 2 x 1.5oz (40g) = 80g? Is 10oz = 275g or 2 x 5oz (150g) = 300g?

  9. Sophie33 says:

    I made this glorious festive cake a while ago & my parents, husband & I all loved it so much! I also gavce them your blog adresse! 😉 xxx

    • Georgina says:

      Hi Sophie. You are such a lovely blogging “friend” – so encouraging and supportive. Thank you for your really kind comment, and I’m so glad that your family enjoyed this special cake so much (I just love Lily Vanilli’s recipes and definitely recommend that you try others of hers if you fancy them).

  10. Becky Clayton says:

    I made this today with my boys 11& 8 for my hubands birthday. It was absolutely delicious, big but lovely. Will definitely be making this again.

    • Georgina says:

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed making this cake together with your sons – and that you enjoyed eating it too. And I hope that your husband had a very happy birthday! Many thanks for your comment.

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