This is my favorite tea-time cake ever, and it’s only the second time I’m making it! Last fall, I had tons of fresh ginger, so I tried to incorporate it into every single dish. I made classic lemon-ginger cake with sticky glaze, and it was okay, but nothing more than that.
I was missing some crunch and wanted a deeper taste. It seems that this was actually so low on my wish list that I completely forgot about it. A few days ago, a photo of the cake popped out while I was looking for something else, and it was a clear sign to give it a second chance. So, here we are!
Why Is This Lemon Ginger Cake Special?
It’s a super simple cake, but with complex and interesting taste which you’ll love or hate but won’t stay immune. Roughly chopped pecans made the biggest difference by giving it some texture and nutty flavor. Also, I love my cakes spongy and just a tad crumbly, so my forever-old trick is instant pudding in the batter.
When it comes to sticky glaze, last time I made the classic — lemon and powdered sugar, but now I changed this, as well. Instead of just mixing them together, I caramelized sugar with lemon. The texture is a bit denser and stretchy, so if you don’t fancy caramelly taste and consistency — stick to the first version.
How to Make Sticky Lemon Ginger Cake?
I’ve always associated the lemon-ginger-honey combo with the flu season, as they are always stacked up in my home once the first leaf hits the ground. But with a few other ingredients from my pantry, I made them into the most amazing bite. Here’s the list!
- Flour – I used cake flour for an extra lightweight texture, but you can go with all-purpose, too. The difference is minor, to be honest.
- Instant pudding – When I want perfectly spongy cake, instant pudding is my go-to ingredient. I usually opt for vanilla flavor, as it’s neutral but still gives some complexity. Also, vanilla and ginger go amazingly together!
- Baking powder – Don’t forget to add baking powder for a perfectly raised cake!
- Yogurt – Yogurt brings the old-fashioned tang and keeps the cake moist. I used a semi-thick Greek one.
- Eggs – There are no rich and fluffy baked goods without eggs.
- Oil – I know butter is everyone’s favorite when it comes to cakes, but believe me, try it with oil. I picked extra virgin olive oil to get an authentic Mediterranean treat with freshly squeezed lemon and ginger. The cake is moister and spongier with oil, and you’ll still get the flavor from buttery, grassy olives. It’s a win-win situation!
- Sugar – I used ordinary, granulated sugar. You can go with any you regularly use.
- Honey – Ginger and honey are a superior couple, so I couldn’t skip it in the recipe. It gives the cake quite a unique aroma and color.
- Lemon – Lemon is a star of this cake, and I used both juice and zest. It gives a nice zing and refreshes the whole dish.
- Ginger – I was afraid the taste would be very pungent, but it actually added a trace of warm relish and spice. I grated some fresh ginger, but I assume powdered would be as such as good. Still, keep in mind to cut the amount because it’s stronger when dried.
- Pecans – Pecans were my last-minute decision which I didn’t regret one bit. I chopped them roughly into chunks, as I wanted to feel the crunch. They blended into the batter impeccably!
Let’s bake it together!
Step 1: Mixing the Batter
Start with grating ginger and lemon zest with the tiniest grate. It was the first step, and I already made a mistake. 😄 I blended yogurt and grated ginger and lemon zest because I was worried the ginger threads would mess up the texture.
Very much unnecessary, as I just watered down the yogurt by blending, and the threads remained the same. So, you do better and massage them directly into the sugar. Their flavors will bloom like that, and threads will dissolve in the baking process.
Pour yogurt, oil, eggs, and lemon juice into a mixing bowl and combine it well. Next, add sugar with ginger and lemon zest, and mix it until the sugar melts. Reduce the mixing speed and add the following: flour, instant pudding, baking powder, and honey.
Again, blend it well so there are no flour chunks left behind. And lastly, chop a handful of pecans and add it to the mixture. Combine, and you’re ready for the next step!
Step 2: Baking
Heat up an oven to 360 °F (180 °C). Choose a baking dish; I went for a square non-stick pan; you can go for a round or loaf one, as well. Cover it with baking sheet and smear some butter over, so it can peel off easier.
Toss it in the oven and let it bake for about 45 minutes. Check the doneness with a toothpick – if it’s clean then it’s good. Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit on the counter to stiffen.
Step 3: Making the Glaze
I’m going to write you two ways for the glaze, as I tried both. Here’s the first one! Combine lemon juice and sugar and bring to a boil.
Simmer it lightly, for about 3-5 minutes, until you have golden, caramelly color. It will be sticky, stretchy, and a bit chewy. I find it a superb option if you want to eat cake warm, but if you’re planning on storing it – here’s another idea.
Mix up powdered sugar and hot lemon juice until completely dissolves. The coating will keep the cake moist, plus it’s sticky and easy to cut. The only downside is, it hasn’t that mirror-like gloss, but it’s easier to serve. 😊
Step 4: Serving
Pour hot glaze over the cake and cover it generously. Serve it warm or cold, either is scrumptious! I topped it with some candied ginger, but just for the heads up, it is SPICY! Serve it with herbal tea or coffee for the rhapsody of taste.
Storing Tips and Recipe Ideas
These kinds of spongy cakes don’t require refrigerating, as they become so dry and crumbly. I always prefer storing them at room temperature and in airtight containers. The plastic wrap will do, as well.
I also want to share some ideas on how to flip this cake. I was thinking about adding some more warm spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, for a real fall treat. Next time I’ll do orange juice and chocolate chunks just to experiment — I’ll keep you updated!
Feel free to write down some of your ideas below; what would you pair with this perfectly spongy cake? Looking forward to hearing from you!
Sticky Ginger Lemon Cake
- baking pan
- 2 ¼ cup flour (Cake or all-purpose flour)
- 2 tbsp vanilla-flavored instant pudding
- 2 tsp baking powder (1 packaging)
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups Greek yogurt (Semi-liquid)
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (grated)
- 1 tbsp ginger (grated)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 cup pecans (roughly chopped)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 tbsp sugar
Mixing the Batter
- Start with grating ginger and lemon zest with the tiniest grate. Massage them directly into the sugar.
- Pour yogurt, oil, eggs, and lemon juice into a mixing bowl and combine it well.
- Next, add sugar with ginger and lemon zest, and mix it until the sugar melts
- Reduce the mixing speed and add the following: flour, instant pudding, baking powder, and honey. Blend it well, so there are no flour chunks left behind.
- Chop a handful of pecans and add it to the mixture. Combine.
- Heat up an oven to 360 °F (180 °C).
- Cover the baking pan of your choice with baking paper and smear some butter over, so it can peel off easier.
- Toss it in the oven and let it bake for about 45 minutes. Check the doneness with a toothpick – if it’s clean then it’s good. Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit on the counter to stiffen.
Making the Glaze
- I Option: Combine lemon juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer it lightly, for about 3-5 minutes, until you have golden, caramelly color.
- II Option: Mix up ½ cup powdered sugar and hot lemon juice (60 ml) until completely dissolves.
- Pour hot glaze over the cake and cover it generously.
- Serve it warm or cold, either is scrumptious! I topped it with some candied ginger, but just for the heads up, it is SPICY! Serve it with herbal tea or coffee for the rhapsody of taste.
Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.