Cumbrian cake maker has two products shortlisted for national awards

Ginger Bakers, based at Plumgarths, near Kendal, have discovered that the company’s Westmorland Pepper Cake has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Best British Speciality category and her Chocolate Brodie Cake had been shortlisted in Sweet Bake category in the annual Great British Food Awards.

The Great British Food Awards launched in 2014, celebrate the country’s finest home-grown ingredients, as well as the hard-working folk who produce and cook with them.

This year’s judges, include Raymond Blanc, John Torode, Monica Galetti and Michel Roux Jr to name a few, will be tasting and cogitating in the coming weeks to decide the best of the best from among the 24 categories, which cover everything from beer, cheese, charcuterie, fish and seafood and cake.

Lisa Smith, Owner of Ginger Bakers, commented: ‘’It’s a real achievement for the team that our cakes have been shortlisted as finalists in the Best British Speciality category & Sweet Bake category, in the Great British Food Awards.’’

She added: ‘’It’s also really amazing to think that Westmorland Pepper Cake a very nearly forgotten food from the old county of Westmorland, has the potential to be firmly put back in the foodie spotlight. It’s just one example of why we should be justifiably proud of our food heritage. By reviving old recipes like Westmorland Pepper Cake, we are helping to preserve our rich food heritage, whilst at the same time we are making them commercially viable as we introduce them to new audiences, and that’s only got to be a good thing.’’   

Best British Speciality will be judged by Chef Monica Galetti, is one of two new categories added to this year’s awards, and is specifically designed to help rediscover classic British specialities; including historic bakes and overlooked ingredients. The Sweet Bake category will be judged by the Great British Food Award judging panel.

Ginger Baker’s Chocolate Brodie Cake is a chocolate cake with a difference… moist and intensely dark, made with Hawkshead Brewery’s Brodie’s Prime Porter Beer, a dark beer with hints of dark chocolate and treacle running through it, adds a deep complexity to this rich cake, which is decadently finished off with a smooth cream cheese topping – heavenly!

And Lisa’s Westmorland Pepper Cake is something of a triumph reviving a distinctive spiced fruitcake hailing from the old county of Westmorland. The cake recipe is based on a classic fruit cake, with dried currants and raisins in the batter, however, that’s where the similarity ends… the unusual addition of a number of spices; including ground cloves, ginger, cracked black pepper and black treacle give this cake it’s unique flavour.

Westmorland Pepper Cake, like many of Cumbria’s historic foods contains an array of spices and has done for several centuries. Their inclusion and use in the recipe is directly linked to the significant international shipping trade with British overseas colonies in the Caribbean, Americas and Far East, through the ports of Whitehaven and Maryport.

In 2014 Lisa’s version of Westmorland Pepper Cake was granted Forgotten Food status by the Slow Food Movement as part of their Ark of Taste project. The Ark was created to point out the existence of products like Westmorland Pepper Cake and draw attention to the risk that they might disappear within a few generations.

The Ark of Taste invites everybody to act; in some cases, products need to be rediscovered and put back on our tables, and in other cases producers need to be supported, to have their stories told so that people become aware of the products they produce.