- 14 oz white chocolate
- 3½ oz caramelized white chocolate, cooled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup full-cream (whole) milk
- 5 fl oz thickened (whipping) cream
- 2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
- ⅓ cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 8 eggs
- juice and finely grated zest of 6 lemons
- 9 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 1¾ cups caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 gold-strength gelatin leaves (¼ oz), soaked and drained
- 5 oz unsalted butter
- 5 oz soft light brown sugar
- 5 oz black treacle (molasses)
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 7½ oz plain (all-purpose) flour (cake or soft flour if you can find it)
- ¾ oz ground ginger
- ¼ oz ground cinnamon
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
- ¼ oz bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup full-cream (whole) milk
Caramelize the White Chocolate
Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F) and place the chocolate on a clean non-stick baking tray.
Bake the chocolate for 20 minutes then remove it from the oven.
Move it back and forth with a silicone spatula as the chocolate cools to smooth it out. The chocolate should be golden brown and have a rich caramel aroma.
TIPS: Low and slow is the key to successfully caramelizing your chocolate. Use good-quality white chocolate and remember to preheat the oven. You can open the oven during cooking to have a look and smooth the chocolate out with a palette knife or spatula. The cooking time is only a guide – you need the right amount of golden caramel color, so cook a little longer if necessary.
Make the Ice Cream
Place the chocolate in a bowl.
Place the milk, cream, vanilla seeds and pods in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat then remove the pan from the heat. Set the mixture aside and discard the vanilla pods.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until they start to thicken and pale.
Pour one-third of the hot milk mixture into the sugar and egg mixture and mix well with a whisk. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk mixture and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Place the pan back over medium–low heat and stir constantly until the mixture reaches a temperature of 82°C (180°F). Use a sugar or digital thermometer to check the temperature accurately.
Remove the custard from the heat and pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Stir to emulsify and melt the chocolate. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of iced water to cool the custard down quickly, stirring regularly.
Once cool, churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store in the freezer until needed.
TIP: You can make the ice cream base up to 4 days in advance, but try to churn it on the day of serving to achieve the best possible result.
Make the Lemon Curd (Optional)
Place all the ingredients, except the gelatin, in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk the mixture constantly. Continue to cook – being careful of the steam, which can burn – and check your water does not run dry in the pan (top up the water if needed). Heat the curd until it reaches a temperature of 82°C (180°F).
Prepare a large bowl of iced water.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan on the heat and add the gelatin, stirring well until it has dissolved. Strain the curd into another bowl, then set this bowl in the larger bowl of iced water to cool the curd down quickly.
Stir the mixture occasionally over the ice to cool the curd to a temperature of 40°C (104°F).
TIP: The curd can also be cooked in the microwave by placing all the ingredients, except the gelatin, in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix well and cook for 20 seconds on High (100%) then stir vigorously. Repeat these steps until the curd is starting to bubble and is smooth and shiny. Remove from the microwave and add the soaked gelatin. Mix well again then proceed with the method as above.
How to Use Gelatin Leaves: Gelatin leaves need to be softened before use and this is easy to do. Simply weigh the correct quantity of gelatin for your recipe. Pull the leaves apart and soak them in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes to soften. Remove the softened leaves from the water and gently squeeze out the excess water and discard it.
Dissolve or melt the leaves in a warm liquid. Don’t whisk the jelly as you don’t want bubbles, but stir the jelly gently to dissolve the gelatin and then strain the mixture through a sieve.
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 165°C (330°F). Grease a 7-in non-stick cake tin with a removable base.
Place the butter, sugar and treacle in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat and add in the citrus zests. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Sift the flour with the spices, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and stir in the cooled butter and sugar mixture. Mix well to remove any lumps. Add the eggs to the bowl, one by one, stirring well after each addition. Mix well for a minute then add the milk and mix again thoroughly to incorporate.
Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for 40 minutes or until the sponge is cooked. To test to see if the sponge is cooked, insert a skewer into the center and pull it out. If it comes out clean the sponge is cooked through.
Allow the cake to cool then remove it from the tin. (This cake freezes well. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months.)
While still warm, dust the cake with icing sugar mixed with finely grated orange zest. Serve warm with the ice cream.
About this recipe
“Just simply a great ginger cake that’s a cinch to make. You can have it with or without the ice cream – it’s up to you. This spicy sponge also goes well with my tangy lemon curd as well as a host of other things.” -- Darren Purchese
Recipes and excerpts used with permission from Lamingtons and Lemon Tarts by Darren Purchese.