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In the Kitchen With: Rachel Khoo’s Ginger and Orange Tea Cake

by Kristina Gill

This week’s recipe for a ginger and orange spiced teacake, by food creative and cookbook author Rachel Khoo, is perfect for those of you who live in places where winter is lingering longer than usual.  It is a fancy version of the American poundcake, with the addition of ginger and orange zest which provide a nice delicate spice.  The cake keeps well, if you have any left over!  Just be sure to wrap it in foil before you take it over to your friend’s place to have a little afternoon chat over a pot of tea.  –Kristina

*You can check out our French dinner party inspired by Rachel’s book here!

About Rachel: Rachel Khoo is a trained pastry chef with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu.  After finishing her pastry degree, she put her skills to excellent use at the delightful Paris culinary bookstore and tea salon, La Cocotte. Following the success of her edible endeavours at La Cocotte, Rachel now works on culinary projects throughout the world. Her role as an international food creative has spanned six-course dinners and workshops in places as far-flung as London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Melbourne, Sydney and Buenos Aires.  Her books include Barres à céréales, Granola et Muesli faites maison and Pâtes à tartiner published by Marabout, and the wonderful book we featured here in our dinner party a few weeks ago, The Little Paris Kitchen. It is her first book in English, and followed her first cooking show “The little Paris kitchen” (BBC 2).  She is currently working on her fourth book to be published by Michael Joseph in Autumn 2013.

See Rachel’s recipe after the jump.

Ginger and orange spiced teacake
adapted from the Little Paris Kitchen

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, finely minced
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (fan-forced) and butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Separate the eggs. In a bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks with half of the sugar. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and the other half of the sugar until thick and pale in color.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, zest, spices, candied ginger and baking powder together.
  3. Fold the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture (it will have a sandy texture), then pour in the melted and cooled butter, stirring gently until the butter is just incorporated into the mix. Finally, carefully fold in the egg whites.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then bake for 50 minutes (fan-forced; the time in a static oven will exceed 60 minutes) or until the point of a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.

The cake is best eaten the same day, but will keep in an airtight container for a day or two.

Note: If you work in metrics, the recipe is easy to remember with the basic ingredients being: 4 eggs, 250g of each flour, sugar, butter, plus a teaspoon of baking powder. Simply add the spices/zest of your liking.

Why Rachel loves this recipe

I love having my friends round for tea even though it’s a bit of a squeeze in my Parisian apartment. There’s no better way to while away a Sunday afternoon then with some friends over a good cup of tea and a delicious homemade cake. This cake is a classic take on the French Quartre-quarts, the American equivalent of a pound cake.  Hardly complicated and can be whipped up and on the coffee table in less than an hour. Feel free to adjust or replace the ginger with cinnamon or other ground spices if preferred.

(Portrait by Daniel Lucchesi)

Suggested For You


  • I love The little Paris Kitchen and this cake might really be the right thing for this weird winter wonderland I live in right now. Anything with fruits, or their taste, in is welcome right now.

  • I looove pound cake and I loove ginger and spices!!! Just one question. how / where/ what? candied ginger??? Help Pleaseeee. I live in lima peru south america this might be tricky.

  • I agree with Malina and Cate. I absolutely love Rachel Khoo and her recipes. I will definitely try this one.

  • Celina: I am from Lima as well–just sent a note to a friend (who is an excellent baker and lives in Lima ) about possible sources for candied ginger if you don’t feel like making it yourself

  • Great recipe. Re: making candied ginger.. A nice side benefit is the jar of ginger syrup that is also produced, good for cocktails, over ice cream or to make a carafe of ginger ale.

  • I just tried this recipe (but I added the orange’s juice) and it’s fabulous. Thank you!

  • I am pretty new at baking and I tried this out last night, but after 40 minutes, it was still uncooked. It ended up taking me almost 1 1/2 hours for it to be ready. @Julie did it also take you this long?

  • I have this cake baking in the oven right now, and like Ximena above, I’ve found that the recommended baking time of 40 minutes hasn’t been enough. So far I’m at about 50 minutes, and testing the middle with a toothpick still yields an uncooked center.

  • Making the cake now, but wanted to point out a small difference in the conversions. When I converted 1 1/2 cups sugar into grams (because I was impatient and didn’t read to the bottom of the recipe, my fault), I got 337.5 g, which is considerably more than the 250g mentioned below. I used 225g for 1 cup and 112.5g for 1/2 cup, as found online. This might make a noticeable difference in sweetness and moistness, not sure. Just something to be aware of.

  • Hi @Ximena and @Sammy –

    I experienced a similar situation when baking this cake, and I baked it twice. I would recommend covering it with foil to keep it from overbrowning at a certain point, and bake it as long as necessary– for me it took about an hour or a little more, which is consistent in my experience with this volume of pound cake. When making the cake for this post, however, Rachel helped me troubleshoot extensively, and made the cake four times, over the course of the week that I was working on it, and it came out for her according to her instructions, so I chalked up the difference in cooking time to my oven.

    Dear @Beatriz,

    I understand your concerns! I use Gourmet Sleuth Conversion calculator because I am American (measures even in the imperial system vary slightly between countries!), and a cup of sugar is 200g. I convert a cup of flour at 125g (if you pack it in it will weigh much more). 1 cup is 227g (1 tablespoon = 14g). I do believe, however, that when Rachel suggested an easy conversion, she was recommending it both for its proportions and ease of remembering– as the cake in its origin used equal portions of ingredients. Also, volume of cup measures sold in stores can vary as much as 20 per cent. None of this matters for a cake like a pound cake, but if you prefer a scale, here is a link that I find immensely helpful for converting: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cooking-conversions/cooking-conversions-calculator.aspx

    If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to check in again and we’ll try to help!


  • Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments and to @Kristina for answering the queries so well!

    Re: candied ginger I buy mine at the Chinese supermarket where they always seem to have a good supply.

    – Rachel

  • Oh must it be candied ginger? :( I could make some but I am in a mode of transition (moving around) & I can’t venture into it now. How about fresh ginger? Grated, just a tiny bit? What do you think?

    • Hi Dina. I’m wondering if you tried fresh ginger and how it turned out? Although that was almost 5years ago, LOL. Thanks!

  • I’m an experienced baker, and for the first time ever, I had an undercooked cake using the time mentioned in this recipe. I wondered if the ONE CUP of butter was the reason, so I’ll try it one more time, bake it longer, and maybe experiment with less butter. The taste was okay, but nothing special. I’d had such high hopes, and this cake just wasn’t a winner.

  • Joining the chorus to say that 40 minutes is simply not enough cook time. I’m approaching 1 hour and ten minutes and it’s still not done. At first, I thought there was something wrong with my oven and promptly ordered a oven thermometer. But now, after going through the comments, I’m wondering why I trusted this recipe this much and kicking myself for not checking the comments beforehand. Commenting for those who had more foresight than me and may read this. And Design Sponge, if this many commenters say there’s something off with the bake time, could you please add an note or update to recipe at least?

      • Thank you, Grace.
        In the end, this took 80 minutes in the oven for me. The cake was worth the wait (my family loved it), but an update/note would allow bakers plan appropriately. Again, thanks!

  • Hello all!

    Thanks for all your feedback.
    A couple of years later and a new oven I have retested this recipe (see the picture on my instagram feed https://instagram.com/p/9gYRknrwhe/?taken-by=rachelkhooks ).

    With all my recipes I use the fan oven setting and have an additional thermometer in the oven to double check temperatures.

    The cake I recently made took about 50 minutes (to be precise 48 minutes and 19 seconds) which just goes to show that giving an accurate time is very hard (I had tested the recipe in my old oven countless times).

    I mention in the recipe method text the old ‘skewer comes out clean’ trick. This is probably the best way to be sure as everyone’s oven works differently (hot spots/power of fan etc).

    Hope this helps!

  • Made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out great! I love the flavor combination and nothing is too overpowering. The lightness of the bread is great too. Thanks for the recipe!