White Christmas Cake

Serves: 12
Course: Dessert
Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • For the sponge:
  • 150g crystallised ginger
  • 335g caster sugar
  • 335g unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 335g self-raising flour
  • For the cranberry jam:
  • 300g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp water
  • For the white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 600g unsalted butter, softened
  • 450g white chocolate, roughly chopped

For the sponge:
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees or 175 degrees fan. Grease three 20cm cake tins and place a disc of parchment paper at the bottom of each.

2 Blitz the crystallised ginger and the sugar in a food processor to a powder. Cream the butter and ginger sugar together until pale and soft. Add the eggs one by one, allowing each one to incorporate fully before adding the next.

3 Add the orange zest and vanilla, mixing well to combine, followed by the flour, folding gently until fully incorporated.

4 Divide the batter between the three cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each comes out clean.

5 Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack and cooling completely.

For the cranberry jam:
Put the cranberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes until the berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. Taste the sauce and add a little more sugar to sweeten if required.

2 Remove from the heat and cool completely.

For the white chocolate Swiss meringue:
Put the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk continuously for about eight minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the whites have thickened.

2 Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer the meringue to a stand mixer with whisk attachment or use an electric whisk. Whisk the egg whites to a thick glossy meringue, until cold.

3 Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and using the same saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat once melted and leave to cool slightly.

4 Begin to add the butter to the meringue, about a teaspoon at a time, whisking continuously until all of the butter is incorporated.

5 Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Set aside until ready to assemble.

To assemble:
Place a sponge on a serving plate and pipe some buttercream around the outsides. Spoon half of the cranberry jam in the centre. Repeat with the second sponge.

2 Place the third sponge on the top and use half of the remaining buttercream to coat the top and sides of the cake. Smooth the outsides using a palette knife or spatula and chill the cake for 15 minutes.

3 Use the remaining buttercream to coat the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with cranberries and Christmas decorations.

Aoife Noonan

Aoife Noonan

Aoife Noonan is a pastry chef and culinary consultant. She writes a weekly baking column for the Irish Times Magazine