Nigella's Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing

Nigella Lawson's Fresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing

It's not often that I make decadent cakes, but for special occasions I can be persuaded to make exceptions and certainly cannot resist a few bites myself. But I am decidedly a savory girl who nonetheless enjoys baking.

The occasion this time was my husband's birthday. It used to be a tradition for him to have gingerbread cake on his birthday when he was a child. The ones he remembers were made with mixes, but whenever possible I make everything from scratch. This recipe, that I adapted from Nigella Lawson's glorious and truly tempting collection How to Be a Domestic Goddess, was especially appealing because it calls for fresh ginger rather than the powdered stuff.

I made several substitutions to match the ingredients I had on hand and it worked out even better than expected. Nigella is indispensable to novice and experienced bakers alike. As an added bonus, this cake — closely related to a brownie really — takes very little time to mix up. If you wish to impress your friends and loved ones, you just can't go wrong with this one.

Baking tip: To prevent brown sugar from drying out and clumping together, store in an airtight jar with a clay disc. I don't go through very much sugar, and I've found the little disc keeps the sugar soft and fresh for months.

Nigella Lawson's Fresh Gingerbread Cake Uniced

Nigella Lawson's Fresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon IcingFresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing
Recipe by
Adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess
Published on August 9, 2009

Sticky and moist with a sweet lemon icing, the use of fresh ginger gives this gingerbread cake an extra kick

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 1/3 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • approx. 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Grease a 12 × 9 inch pan and then line with parchment paper.

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter combined with the brown sugar, honey, molasses, ginger and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring often. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whisk and then add the yogurt and baking soda and water. Whisk a few times and set aside.

  • When the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt and egg mixture.

  • Put the flour in a large bowl and add the liquid ingredients to the flour. Beat together until everything is well combined. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake in a preheated 325°F oven for roughly 45 minutes, or until the gingerbread rises and firms up. Nigella says to not overcook, as the gingerbread is especially nice when sticky and she also notes that it continues to bake a bit when removed from the oven. I tested it with a cake tester at the 45 minute point and it seemed just right.

  • Let cool completely before icing the cake. To make the icing, whisk together the lemon juice and icing sugar and then gradually add as much water as you need to get a nice thick icing. Spoon over the cake and smooth out with a knife. Once it is set, cut into squares and serve.

Makes 20 squares

Nigella Lawson's Fresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing

More treats from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Beetroot Cake
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
Ginger Muffins

On the top of the reading stack: A Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

Audio accompaniment: Translucence/Drift Music by Harold Budd and John Foxx


iRaw said...

Ooooh, I love gingerbread. This looks delicious and the lemon icing is just perfect!

Siri said...

Yummy looking bread Lisa :).


Pooja said...

Belated birthday wishes to your hubby! The ginger bread looks so delicious! Perfect for the occasion!

vanillasugarblog said...

I bet this smelled heavenly while baking away.
Looks soooo good.

Anh said...

The cake and the photos are so beautiful. I love the sunlight dancing in the photo. Gorgeous!
‘And you are so right. Nigella’s book is hard to pass. I love it.

Suparna said...

That seems like a perfect b'day cake Lisa :)as u said it seems easy to put together and love the lemon, ginger flavour in anything :) the slices with icing looks so heavenly!
Have a great day!!

Johanna GGG said...

That looks delicious - I have come to love gingerbread more as I have gotten older - and am ready to make the plunge and try one with stem ginger in syrup - or even a nice one with fresh ginger like this one - BTW E has been listening to John Foxx lately so I smiled when I saw your listening choice

Indian Khana said...

Bread looks so rich and fab..nice colour and texture..

Priya Suresh said...

Looks scrumptious...lovely and flavourful bread..

Soma said...

Nothing can be more refreshing than ginger & Lemon! I love it in cookies & cakes. We used to get these strong ginger flavored cookies in india & i miss it here, nothing feels strong here. My kids enjoy the ginger flavor a lot, but i never got around baking a cake at home. Love the dense look & of course the flavor. must have tasted divine.

Shri said...

I love fresh ginger and your cake looks fabulous!The close up pic is just awesome

Unknown said...

Wow nice texture and flavorful bread I have to try this one marked....

Thistlemoon said...

This is certainly my kind of cake Lisa! I love the icing too!

Uma said...

mmm. the bread looks soo perfect and tempting :)

Astra Libris said...

Ooooh, such a gorgeous gingerbread!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your sweetie! :-) How fortunate is he to have you baking such a special birthday cake for him! :-)

Srivalli said...

Beautiful pictures belated wishes!

Parita said...

Belated happy birthday wishes! ginger and lemon sounds delicious combination, must a try for me :)

A_and_N said...

Happy Birthday :)

I love gingerbread, but A hates ginger in baked goods :| believe it or not. I'm eyeing a certain gingered, strawberried pound cake and only hitting a wall coz he won't touch it :(

I think I will try this for a potluck!

Muneeba said...

Got a few awards waiting for you on me blog!

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo this looks perfect Lisa! I love ginger cookies but never make gingerbread cakes like this. You're definitely making me think I should!

Red Chillies said...

Belated birthday wishes to your sweetie :-)) I love ginger and can imagine the flavor of it in the cake. The lemon icing I am sure pretty much complements the flavor of ginger.

Nithya said...

This looks brilliant. Amazing..

Here for the first time and should definitely tell you that you have a lovely photography skill along with culinary skills. you really rock. Lovely blog and I am undoubtedly following you from now. Keep it going.

Do take a peep into my blogs when you find time.

Unknown said...

I don't know where I went wrong as after 45 mins this was soggy so I ended up leaving it in another 40 and it was still soggy. It didn't seem to have enough flour in it. Tasted nice though

Lisa Turner said...

I'm not sure Christine. It worked out just fine for me. Maybe it was your oven temperature? Some ovens are hotter than others. Sorry it didn't work out as you expected but I'm glad you enjoyed the taste.