A dark, squidgy, steadfast cake from Bread Ahead Bakery
Ask Bread Ahead Bakery’s head baker Justin Gellatly which baked good he is most proud of, and he won’t say his brownies—though they are some of the best in Borough Market. He won’t even say his award-winning, world renowned salted caramel doughnuts. “He’s most famous for those, but the ginger cake is his pride and joy,” says Lorna at the stall.
“He loves it. He really enjoys making it. People are so swayed by looks when it comes to food, but sometimes the best cakes are the most understated.” Of no cake is this truer than the heavy, dark, squidgy slab squatting next to the bread and butter pudding at the stall.
It looks unremarkable: a slight sheen to its chestnutty surface the only visible sign of the sticky, gingery moistness concealed within each slice. We say slice; hunk is more appropriate. The portions are huge. Don’t let this deter you, though. “It’s not too sweet,” Lorna reassures us.
Indeed, Friday feeling is testimony to just how much you can manage, having devoured several ‘slices’ easily in an embarrassingly short space of time.
“I have it in the afternoon as a sugar boost,” Lorna continues. “It goes well with a good brew.” Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, a wee dram: whatever your tipple, this steadfast cake will support you. Steeped in black treacle and studded with ginger root, it’s reliably good.
“We use stem ginger, crushed into a pulp: sticky, spicy lovely stuff,” Justin explains, when we pop into the bakery to discover more. “You could eat it straight out the tub by the spoonful.”
In his recipe book, he recommends indulging in his beloved cake for dessert. “Serve it warm, with cider and caramel sauce and some vanilla ice cream,” he writes, making our mouths water. It’s been more than an hour since we last ate it. We could probably manage some more…