by | Jun 21, 2021 | Baking, Recipes

Ginger fluff cake


The Ginger Fluff Cake is a tradition in our family that my Nana used to make for family birthdays when I was a younger. It’s something that our entire family absolutely loves and we would look forward to at every birthday party. When my Nana passed away we would try to recreate the infamous Ginger Fluff Cake with varying levels of success – but most times it would flop. It affectionately became named the Ginger Flop Cake. This created a lot of friendly family rivalry around who could make the best Ginger Fluff Cake. I think when my nan wrote down the recipe she must have forgot some steps or ingredients that made the Ginger Fluff Cake a success. Over the years I have tried several different recipes in order to create the perfect Ginger Fluff Cake. 

I have had many successes and many failures and this is my version of the which I have perfected over the years to ensure that it doesn’t become a flop. I think my Nana’s Ginger Fluff Cake was definitely still better – but this comes very close! My Nana would make this with a simple mock cream and decorate with hundreds and thousands but this is my version that uses a beautiful Custard buttercream or German buttercream. This is one of my favourite frostings as it uses a cream patisserie custard as a base for the icing which is then whipped with soft butter. It is so luxourious and delicious and goes really well with the spicy, light Ginger Fluff Cake. I finish it with candied lemon rind fresh flowers and a liberal dusting of icing sugar which completes this gorgeous cake.


This is definitely one of my absolute favourite cakes to make. Feather light sponge cake spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cardamon and cocoa powder and liberally frosted with decadent Custard Butter Cream.

Ginger Fluff Cake

Ginger Fluff Cake with Custard Butter Cream

This is definitely one of my absolute favourite cakes to make. Feather light sponge cake spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cardamon and cocoa powerder and liberally frosted with decadent custard butter cream.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: celebration, Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, Retro
Keyword: cake, baking, retro, ginger
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 572kcal
Author: Scott Bagnell


Ginger Fluff Cake

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 lemon finely zested
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

Custard (for Butter Cream)

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • ½ lemon finely zested
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 90 ml cream
  • 90 ml milk
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

Custard Butter Cream

  • ½ lemon zested into thin long strips
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 375 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To garnish

  • 8 fresh edible flowers
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting


Ginger Fluff Cake

  • Preheat oven to170°C
  • Grease and line the base of 1 x 20cm round cake tin.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add sugar and lemon zest and either whisk for a few minutes or rub together with your fingers to flavour the sugar. Add eggs, and whisk until white and fluffy and almost triple in size, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, sift cornflour, self-raising flour, cocoa and spices, and lightly whisk to combine with a pinch of salt. Carefully fold dry ingredients into egg mixture, being careful not to knock all the air out of the egg mixture. You don’t need to incorporate all the flour, as you will continue to fold in the next step.
  • Warm the butter and golden syrup together in the microwave or in a saucepan until the butter is just melted, but not too hot. Slowly pour the butter and syrup mixture around the edge of the mixture and gentlyfold through the mixture until the butter and flour mixture is fully incorporated.
  • Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. The top of the cake should bounce back in the middle when pressed with your finger and mixture will pull away from the edge of the tins when done. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack lined with baking paper to cool completely.
  • Once completely cool, slice through the middle of the cake to ice.

CustardButter Cream

  • For the Custard buttercream, combine the sugar and lemon zest in a medium-sized bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and rub together with your fingers to flavour the sugar.  Add the egg yolks,  cornflour, flour and salt and immediately beat together until creamy and pale.
  • Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add the milk and ginger and bring to almost a boil. Once the first bubbles appear, remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once incorporated add another 1/3 of the mixture, whisk well and finally add the last 1/3 of the mixture.
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat over low heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to soft boil and thickens considerably. Remove the pan immediately from the heat when bubbles appear and whisk for another minute to knock some of the heat out. Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the custard to stop a skin from forming. Place the custard in the fridge to cool completely.
  • Place a clean small-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add the sugar, water and lemon zest strips and stir well until all sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil very slowly until syrup thickens slightly, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the lemon zest strips for garnish and reserve the syrup for the buttercream.
  • Once the custard is cooled, beat the butter and vanilla bean paste in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and very fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the cold custard, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the custard has been added, mix for another few minutes, until the buttercream looks thick, smooth and creamy. Add the reserved lemon syrup (and salt to taste) and mix well to incorporate. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star piping tip.
  • Use immediately or icing can be stored in an airtight container or a zipper bag in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to two months. To use buttercream that has been stored in the fridge or freezer, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature first then beat until smooth and pipeable again.
  • To serve, place the bottom half of the cake on a serving platter.  Pipe half the Custardbuttercream on the bottom half of the Ginger Fluff. Add the top half of the cake carefully on top. Evenly pipe rosettes around the outside of the top half of the cake using the remaining custard buttercream. Dust the cake top and edges with icing sugar. Place the fresh flowers around the top of the rosettes. Finally, sprinkle the reserved lemon zest strips over the top of the remaining buttercream rosettes and serve.


Calories: 572kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 234mg | Sodium: 132mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 1426IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
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About The Author

Scott Bagnell

Hi, I’m Scott . I have been a commercial Interior Designer of over 20 years, I am a decadent baker, a self-confessed food nerd, wine enthusiast, passionate teacher, traveller and knower of hotspots, sustainability advocate, and Top 9 Finalist of Masterchef Australia 2021.


  1. Simon

    5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe! Worked perfectly and was absolutely delicious ????

  2. Andrew

    5 stars
    Very tasty cake! We make this for my Nan for her birthday and she was over the moon! It’s so humble and reminds me of home.

  3. peter

    5 stars
    Tastes amazing Scott, I saw the love in this cake when you cooked it on MasterChef. So good!

  4. Maddie

    Hi Scott, are the yolks for richness or for rise? Trying to make it egg free but trying to work out how to split the egg conponents and what alternatives to try.
    Thanks!!! Currently watching you on master chef in the UK and loving it!!! Xxx

    • Scott Bagnell

      Thank you! 🙂 The eggs are the main rising agent, so you will need to add some baking powder to makes it raise during baking, giving it a light and fluffy texture. I would substitute the eggs with a Yogurt or something like that and some baking soda which reacts with the yogurt to make the cake soft and fluffy.


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