11/2 kg flour
900 g brown sugar
6 tsp baking soda
9 tsp ground cloves
10 tsp ground cinnamon
8 tsp ginger
900 g butter or margarine
600 g butter, softened
900 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2-3 tsp vanilla essence
- Mix together all the dry ingredients on a clean, dry table and crumble the cold butter/margarine into it until well mixed. (Use your hands to squish it in, or use a pastry cutter).
- Make a mound of the mixture and make a hole in the centre of it. Add the eggs and syrup and knead until well mixed. (This does not as much kneading as bread, only just enough to get everything well mixed).
- Divide the dough into six parts. Dust each with flour and roll out into even-sized portions onto well greased cookie sheets.
- Bake at 180°C/350°F (convection oven) for 13-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and remove the cake layers immediately from the cookie sheets and lay onto baking paper that has been sprinkled with sugar. Cool completely before going to the next step.
- Layer the buttercream evenly onto all but one layer and assemble the cake. Some prefer to spread a thin layer of jam on top of each layer of buttercream, while others will make two buttercream layers and one jam layer, and others will skip the jam entirely.
To make the buttercream:
Whip the butter and icing sugar together until light and well mixed. Add the egg yolks and vanilla essence and mix well.
Once the cake is assembled, it is best to wrap it in a slightly damp cloth (very slightly damp - wring it as well as possible) and pack it tightly in a plastic bag and leave it overnight to soften so it will not crumble as much when cut. To serve, trim the edges of the large cake and cut into smaller, rectangular pieces, then slice them, or leave each piece whole and let people serve themselves.