Orange and Ginger Cake with Ginger Syrup, Lychees and Pineapple

, from Issue #34. September, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Orange and Ginger Cake with Ginger Syrup, Lychees and Pineapple

Serves: 10-12


200 grams butter, melted and cooled
5 eggs
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup caster sugar
1½ cups plain flour
pinch of salt
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ginger syrup
1 cup water
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

½ a pineapple, peeled and eyes removed
1 x 400 gram tin lychees, well drained
mint leaves

To serve
icing sugar
crème fraîche


Grease a 24 cm spring-form cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Beat the eggs and sugars in an electric mixer until very thick and pale. Put the flour, salt and ginger in a bowl and toss to coat the ginger in flour. Using a large metal spoon, gently but thoroughly fold the two mixtures together, making sure there are no pockets of flour trapped in the batter.

Fold in the butter, zest and vanilla until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cover the top loosely with foil if it is getting too brown. Cool the cake in the tin.

Syrup: Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, stirring over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until reduced by half.

To assemble: Remove the sides from the tin and invert the cake onto a large plate. Peel off the baking paper and using a thin skewer, poke holes all over the cake. Carefully spoon half the hot syrup over the cake. When the syrup has been absorbed, place another plate over the cake and turn the cake presentation side up. Pour the remaining syrup over the top.

To garnish: Remove the tough core from the pineapple and using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice very thinly and place on kitchen towels to soak up the excess juice.  Arrange the lychees on top of the cake then stack the sliced pineapple around and between the lychees. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a bowl of crème fraîche. 

Cook’s tip: The rule for pouring syrup over a cake is to use hot syrup over a cold cake or cold syrup over a hot cake. For this recipe, I poured the syrup over both sides, so the cake needs to be cold and the syrup hot. The syrup can be made 2-3 days ahead and reheated before using.