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Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Whiskey Caramel

Author Izy


  • 225 g (8 oz / 1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 110 g (3.5 oz) black treacle (unsulfered molasses)
  • 110 g (3.5 oz) golden syrup - use corn/agave syrup if you can't get this
  • 225 g (1 cup) soft dark brown sugar, not packed
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
  • 350 g (scant 3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda , (baking soda)
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves , (I used allspice)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

For the Salted Whiskey Caramel Sauce:

  • 250 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 50 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp whiskey
  • 1 – 2 tsp flaky sea salt

For the Whiskey Caramel Buttercream:

  • 200 g (7.5 oz / 1 cup minus 1 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 330 g (2 1/3 cups) icing (powered) sugar
  • 100 ml (scant 1/2 cup) salted whiskey caramel sauce (see above)
  • Crystallised ginger , , for decoration.


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (335°F). Prepare two 18 cm (7 inch) round, deep cake tins by greasing and lining the base with parchment paper.
  • Heat the butter, treacle and golden syrup in a large saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted.
  • Beat in the sugar and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and milk together. Slowly beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt into the saucepan and beat until just combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cakes are cooling, prepare the icing and caramel sauce.

For the caramel sauce:

  • Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, swirl the sugar into the liquid areas of the pan without stirring.
  • While the sugar is melting, gently warm the cream and butter in a separate pan until the butter has melted.
  • After about 10 minutes, or once the sugar has completely melted and is a dark amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Immediately whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture (be careful, as the hot caramel can splash up). If the sugar solidifies, return the pan to medium heat until the mixture is liquid again.
  • Stir in the salt and whiskey.
  • Pour the mixture through a sieve into a heatproof bowl to remove any remaining lumps of sugar and leave to cool.

For the buttercream:

  • Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter in a bowl for 3-4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and whiskey caramel sauce then continue to beat for another 2-3 minutes until smooth.

To assemble:

  • Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops (I like using a serrated knife for this) and split each layer in half so that you have 4 layers in total.
  • Spread the first layer with a bout 1/6 of the buttercream. Make a thicker layer of buttercream like a dam (see notes) around the edges and spoon in about 2 tbsp of the slightly cooled caramel (if it is too thick to pour, warm it gently for a few seconds on the stove). Place the second layer on top and repeat the buttercream + caramel filling and repeat again with the third layer. Top with the last layer and cover the entire cake with a thin layer of the buttercream (this is called crumb coating). Chill for 30 minutes then pour over the caramel (again, warm it if it is too thick to pour, or chill if it is too runny) and decorate with chopped crystallised ginger.