Recipe: Gingerbread Sponge with Cream Cheese Frosting and Pomegranate Seeds

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I first made this cake for a book club meet-up and it went down so well I made it one December weekend as well. And that’s also when I tweaked the recipe to what it is below. The original recipe called for lingonberry jam which I omitted even the first time, but I thought the spices could come through a bit more as well and after my tweaks I’m very happy with it!

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So next time you want a festive cake, try this! I promise it’s a welcome change from mince pies and other cakes heavy on dried fruit. This is still a spiced cake but much lighter and, dare I say – fresher – with its cream cheese frosting and juice bursting pomegranate seeds!

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Gingerbread sponge with cream cheese frosting and pomegranate seeds, serves 8

Adapted from Brinken Bakars recipe.

75 g butter

1 1/2 eggs

135 g caster sugar

125 g plain flour

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp ground cloves 

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150 g buttermilk 

Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Butter a baking tin. Melt the butter and put aside. Mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl whisk eggs and sugar pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the buttermilk and lastly the melted butter and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Cream cheesefrosting

75 g softened salted butter

80 g icing sugar 

1 tsp vanilla

150 g cold cream cheese (preferably full fat Philadelphia) 

110 g pomegranate seeds

Cream the butter for approx 5 minutes using an electric whisk. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for another few minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. 

Let the cake cool and put it on a cake plate. Spread the frosting on top and decorate with pomegranate seeds. 

 

 

This year’s Christmas drinks party

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I had some of the girls over for Christmas drinks the first Saturday in December and it was so much fun! Last year I had a larger gathering with both girls and boys, but this year I just didn’t have enough time or energy to prepare something big, but rather than not organising anything at all I preferred to scale it down. I do hope I have more time and energy last year for a proper Christmas party with lots of canapés, but I’m not making any promises.

To start with we had prosecco (and quite a lot of it!) and savoury canapés, starting with warm crisps with browned butter, grated comté, lemon juice and cress. I love these so so much! I know it’s making crisps even unhealthier, but it is so worth it. I mentioned the browned butter right?!

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Thereafter I put out a little DIY project with crostinis. I had a large bag filled with crostinis and three jars on a silver tray with different spreads to put on top; bean spread with sage, hot smoked salmon spread (the girls favourite!) and a new version of chicken liver parfait (recipe to follow soon) and cornichons.

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After that I passed around a board of prosciutto parcels filled with cream cheese mixed with chopped sunblush tomatoes. It’s the easiest recipe ever (three ingredients!) but always goes down well.

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We then moved on to the hot food. First up were these puff pastry squares with mushrooms, grated cheese, creme fraiche and parsley. IMG_7468

Then the mini Janssons frestelse that all my London friends adore! Janssons frestelse is like a creamy potato bake (with grated potato) with anchovies. It sounds rather odd I know, but everyone who’s ever tried it loves it, I promise!

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Having finished the savoury canapés it was time for the sweets and glögg! I put it all out on the table at once to people cook pick and choose. The rocky road I made this year is probably the best one yet (recipe to follow), mainly because it has honeycomb in it and it really works!! I also tried to pretty them pieces up with snowflakes (which I tend to use on everything this time of year!) and edible glitter.

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I also served gingerbread with blue cheese, but this time I substituted Stilton for St Agur, which works even better.

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I also made these mini saffron pannacottas that I like to make every year – I’m so lucky my friends are happy to eat! 

 

 

Sliced ginger thins with almonds

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I love traditions and leading up to Christmas I really enjoy all the [food] preparations. They help me prepare mentally for the fact that Christmas is waiting around the corner and being surrounded by the typical smells and scents from the food relaxes me and makes me look forward to the festivities.

Just like my mother does every year, I made sure to make some ginger thins before the first Sunday of Advent (we celebrate all the Advent Sundays in Sweden) and then a few days before St Lucia (13th December) it is time to make the proper ginger thins with cookie cutters. 

These biscuits are super easy to make and despite the name, they don’t actually contain any ginger, just cloves and cinnamon. But they’re still absolutely delicious! And I dare you; try to stop at one when eating them… 

Sliced ginger thins, makes approx 80

250 g butter

250 ml caster sugar

100 ml golden syrup

75 g toasted almond slivers

1/2 tbsp ground cloves

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp water

500 g plain flour

Heta up butter, sugar and syrup in a sauce pan. Add almonds and spices. Mix the bicarb with water and add to the batter. Lastly, add the flour and mix well with a wooden fork. Divide the dough in two and shape into rolls. Cover with clingfilm and let them rest in the fridge over night. 

Slice the rolls into 1 mm thick slices, place on a covered baking tray and bake for 10 minutes in 150C oven. Leave to cool then store in an airtight container. 

Gingerbread cheesecake

Gingerbread. Is there anything more Christmassy than the mixture of ground ginger, cloves and cinnamon?! I think not.

As much as I love traditional gingerbread, last year I also made this gingerbread cheesecake. The base is of course ginger biscuits, and the cheesecake filling has the same ratio of the three spices as gingerbread. More of cinnamon and ginger, less of the pungent cloves.

Do try this at a gathering or just for your family – it is delivious, and a fun way of serving traditional flavours.

Gingerbread cheesecake, serves 10-12

200 g ginger biscuits (I used Ginger Nuts)

75 g softened butter

600 g Philadelphia cheese

2 eggs

100 ml golden syrup

50 ml caster sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cloves

1 tbsp milk

1 tskp gelatin powder

Topping:

150 ml sourcream

50 ml golden syrup

Mix the biscuits into crumbs in a food processor. Add the butter and mix until the crumbs has the consistency of wet sand. Press the crumbs onto the base of a buttered and lined springform tin. Bake for 10 minutes in 175C. 

Beat Philadelphia, eggs, sugar and syrup with an electric whisk. Add the spices and stir to combine. Add milk and gelatin and stir to combine. Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the slightly cooled baked base. Bake for 20 minutes in a low oven or until the cake   is almost set.

Mix sourcream and syrup in a bowl and spread onto the cheesecake with a spatula. Bake for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool, then refridgerate for at least 2 hours before serving.