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Despite the fact that our British Summer – so far at least – has been chilly and rainy, I find I cannot stop reading this book greedily and gratefully. There are just too many recipes I have already marked up to try out, so choosing one now was a challenge, but I couldn't resist the The Caked Crusader, made (among other tempting ingredients) with Jamaican Ginger Cake. It's a bonus that this gives a warming glow which we rather need in our grey isle.


By Matt O'Connor (Mitchell Beazley, 2012)

My late business partner, Peter Matthews, was an entrepreneur with a carrot top, schoolboyish wit and extraordinary energy. Peter Matthews' parties were the stuff of legend, and he was forever getting embroiled in near-death yet life-affirming experiences that encouraged him to pursue ever more reckless behaviour. When he was reported dead in an accident abroad, one couldn't help but think he had faked his own demise in an attempt to evade the tax inspector. I imagine he is now residing under a variety of noms de plume. Being a ginger, he was partial to a bit of this cake, so this one is for Peter, wherever you are...

The Caked Crusader

Jamaican Ginger Cake Ice Cream


  • 250ml (8fl oz) full-fat milk
  • 125ml (4fl oz) double cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 88g (3¼oz) caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 Jamaican Ginger Cake
  • 2 balls of stem ginger, chopped
  • slug of stem ginger syrup
  • dark rum, to serve (optional)

For the sugar syrup:

  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 75ml (3fl oz) water


  1. Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the caster sugar and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan, add the ground ginger and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil.
  3. Pour back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the fridge.
  4. When chilled, add 90g (3¼oz) of the cake, the stem ginger and syrup and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4°C). Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. When the churning is completed, prepare the sugar syrup by putting the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat and stirring until the sugar dissolves. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, until the liquid becomes a syrup.
  6. Thinly slice the remaining cake and drizzle the sugar syrup over it until damp, but not saturated. Fold the cake through the ice cream, then scrape into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours). For an extra kick, dust each portion with a little more ground ginger, or add a slug of dark rum before serving.

Cooling cream rippled with rich, moist cake and a penetrating kick like a ginger javelin