The Gourmet Traveller 50th birthday cake: Ginger whiskey cake with burnt white chocolate ganache

Watch the making of the Gourmet Traveller 50th birthday cover cake.
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14 - 16
4H 30M
5H 30M

This multi-layered crowd-pleaser is full of warm spice, while the burnt white chocolate cream filling adds rich caramel-y goodness to proceedings. We’ve added gold flecked white chocolate shards for a bit of glam, as well as praline shards for texture and crunch. This beauty feeds a crowd, but you could easily halve the recipe to feed fewer.


Ginger whiskey cake
Burnt white chocolate cream
Whiskey caramel
To serve


1.For burnt white chocolate cream, preheat oven to 120C. Spread chocolate on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake, stirring occasionally until dark caramel in colour (2½-3 hours; chocolate will seize and then change colour as it caramelises). Bring cream to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, remove from heat, add burnt chocolate, process with a hand-held blender until smooth. Transfer to a container and refrigerate overnight, then when ready to assemble cake, transfer to a piping bag (no nozzle). Burnt white chocolate cream will keep for up to 1 week.
2.Preheat oven to 180C and butter and base line two 22cm-diameter cake tins. Beat butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (4-5 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in golden syrup. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl and beating well between additions. Sieve over flour, spices and bi-carbonate of soda, add ½ tsp salt and beat to combine. Combine milk and vinegar in a jug, then beat into batter. Divide evenly among prepared tins and bake until risen and centres spring back when lightly pressed (1-1¼ hours). Cool in tins for 15 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks. Cakes can be made a day ahead and stored in airtight containers.
3.For whiskey caramel, stir sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush then cook, swirling pan occasionally once caramel starts to form around the edges, until dark caramel (4-5 minutes) Remove from heat, carefully add 80ml water (hot caramel will spit), then stir in whiskey and refrigerate until cooled.
4.Whisk mascarpone, vanilla and half the cream to firm peaks, set aside. Whisk whiskey, sugar and remaining cream to soft peaks and set aside.
5.To assemble, trim tops of cakes flush and halve each horizontally. Drizzle cut surfaces with a little whiskey. Place the base of a cake on a plate or cake rack. Pipe over one-third of the burnt chocolate cream, making sure the it goes right to the edges, then spread over a layer of mascarpone mixture, about 1cm thick, leaving a 1cm border. Place another cake on top, and repeat layering, using the cake tops as the middle layers and finishing with the remaining cake base, bottom-side up. Top with whipped cream, forming large swirls and peaks, top with praline and shards of white chocolate and serve drizzled with whiskey sauce.

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