Gingerbread Lime Ice Cream

20 Comments on Gingerbread Lime Ice Cream
Gingerbread ice cream

Soft, spiced gingerbread with the kick of sweet, sharp lime

When something goes wrong in the kitchen, what’s your default solution? Are you the inquisitive person who keeps consuming what they’ve made until over half is gone, trying to ascertain exactly what it is that doesn’t taste quite right? Do you shower everything in icing sugar and hope that no one notices? Do you calmly set the failure to one side and start the whole process from scratch? Or do scrape whatever it is into the bin in a fit of fury, never to be spoken of again?

Lime ice cream

This lime ice cream is made with zest, not juice, for maximum creaminess

I’ll be honest and admit to having done all of the above. Experimenting in the kitchen inevitably leads to the occasional failure, but every so often something inexplicable goes wrong with a seemingly straightforward recipe and it can be, depending on the mood you’re in and who you’re baking for, frustrating, infuriating or incredibly funny.

This weekend just gone we decorated our flat for Christmas. I couldn’t have been happier or more relaxed and wasn’t really paying a huge amount of attention to the gingerbread I threw together in between stringing up lights and dusting down baubles. Gingerbread – the sticky, spongy kind as opposed to the biscuits – isn’t something I’ve made before, but it sounded pretty simple. And although the batter looked a little thin as I popped it in the oven, I assumed the ingredients would work their magic as they baked and left it there to do its thing.

Gingerbread ice cream

Ground & fresh ginger make the best, sticky gingerbread

The spicy scent wafting round the kitchen as it baked was incredible, but my gingerbread emerged from the oven in an embarrassingly flat little layer. Flavour? Fabulous. Looks? A little deflated. Edible – and enjoyed that evening in sticky slabs served with scoops of vanilla ice cream – yes, but unfortunately not a recipe beautiful enough to photograph or reliable enough to share with you here. This ice cream, however, is. That’s a fifth option that I forgot to include at the start of this post: turn the recipe fail into something different and utterly delicious.


Lime & ginger is a combination often found in savoury food but works in desserts too

Crumbled up anything tastes pretty good in ice cream – digestive biscuits, brownies, treacle tart, even caramelized brown bread – so I knew this gingerbread would be no exception. After toying with the idea of a spiced custard base, I decided to go with something simpler as the gingerbread was already so rich in flavour. Lime and ginger might initially sound more like something you’d find in a savoury thai stir fry, but think of a thick layer of sharp lime icing on top of spicy carrot cake and you can begin to imagine where I’m going.

This ice cream is an explosion of flavour and texture: cool custard contrasting with warm spice, sticky cake melting into smooth cream, sharp citrus and plenty of sweetness. It’s a great way to use up any baking mishaps, cake trimmings or slices that have started to go a little dry and you could easily adapt it to incorporate different flavours: clementine custard with chocolate brownie pieces is something I’m already dreaming of.

Ice cream

Sticky, chewy, creamy, smooth, sweet & spicy – an amazing flavour combination

One day I promise to post the perfect gingerbread recipe. Until then, I’ll keep experimenting in the kitchen, hopefully with a few more fortuitous mishaps along the way.

Gingerbread Lime Ice Cream
(makes about 3/4 of a litre)


Zest of two unwaxed limes
75g caster sugar
200ml full fat milk
350ml double cream
Pinch salt
3 large free range egg yolks
150g gingerbread (the spongy variety, not the biscuits, although those could work well too)


Put the lime zest and sugar in a food processor and blitz.

Combine the lime sugar, milk, 200ml double cream and salt in a saucepan and warm gently. Remove from the heat cover and set aside to infuse for one hour.

Pour the remaining 150ml double cream into a large bowl and set it over an ice bath with a mesh sieve on top. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.

Rewarm the lime infused mixture then slowly pour it over the egg yolks, whisking constantly until combined. Return the mixture to your saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a heatproof spatula.

Remove the custard from the heat and pour through the sieve into the cold cream. Discard any lime zest left behind then whisk the ice cream mixture over the ice bath until cool.

Chill in the fridge overnight then churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions. As you remove it from the machine, fold in the crumbled gingerbread then freeze until ready to eat.

20 RESPONSES TO Gingerbread Lime Ice Cream

  1. I am all of the above as well, as demonstrated in my post yesterday! It is so disheartening when a recipe flops but i applaud your ingenuity for making this ice cream! So much so, I may ask Santa for a machine…which do you have?

  2. Amy -

    Oh yes! I have had these moments and done everything you suggested. This ice cream sounds yummy – a happy accident! A couple of years ago I started the tradition of Christmas pudding ice cream with leftover Christmas pudding and am looking forward to it already! I expect the texture of gingerbread ice cream would be similar – love it. Thanks for more great inspiration LL.

  3. daisyandthefox -

    this is such a wonderful recipe!!! and so Christmas perfect with the ginger!! yum! 🙂

  4. This looks soooo good. Very clever too. I’d never have put those flavours together 🙂

  5. What a genius idea – I think citrus goes so well with the warming spices of gingerbread and this ice cream seems like the perfect festive treat!

  6. That sounds so nice, I love the addition of lime! Fantastic, must have some kick!

  7. Oh again you have made a combination made in heaven. This is the perfect Christmas icecream. Like the Clemintine and brownie idea.

    • Victoria – I have a Cuisinart Duo ice cream maker. To be honest, if I bought one again I’d get a single bowl maker with a larger capacity. If you’re splashing out I’d also recommend the ones where you don’t have to freeze the bowls beforehand, although I think they are more expensive.

      Amy – yep, the cake goes all sticky and delicious and almost melts into the ice cream. Very yummy.

      Daisy – exactly! Who said ice cream couldn’t be Christmassy?

      Laura – it’s unusual, but I think it works.

      Kathryn – it’s a really lovely balance of flavours.

      Frugal Feeding – it’s sharp and spicy but mellowed by the cream so not too much.

      My Kitchen Stories – thank you. The clementine brownie version definitely needs to be made!

  8. Emiko -

    So many good culinary discoveries I think are the result of happy accidents! This sounds like a delicious idea and interesting flavour combination. I’m also thinking that a failed gingerbread could be just the thing to spice up a tiramisu too!

    • Amy -

      Geat idea Emiko! Mmmmmm…

  9. I find it reassuring that I’m not the only one that has kitchen flops! There was nothing I could do to salvage my last failure. Your ice cream looks fantastic and the lime is inspired!

  10. Yum! The gingerbread and lime combo sounds so intriguing!

  11. Sacha -

    When something has gone wrong in the kitchen I’ve definitely found myself doing all of those things (and most recently, the item in question went right to the trash). The flavor combination in this ice cream is so thoughtful, and I love the idea of pairing something refreshing with something so warm. And I love gingerbread so much, I think I would still enjoy less than perfect gingerbread, too :).

  12. “Are you the inquisitive person who keeps consuming what they’ve made until over half is gone, trying to ascertain exactly what it is that doesn’t taste quite right? ” That would be me but I like your ice cream idea much better. 🙂

    • Emiko – ooh, it would be delicious in tiramisu. Definitely trying that next time!

      Stephanie – I think everyone has kitchen failures, whether they admit them or not 🙂

      Amrita – do give it a go, it’s delicious!

      Lorraine – thank you.

      Sacha – I couldn’t let it go to waste, it’s only failing was that it was a bit flat!

      Sylvie – thank you!

  13. Laura -

    That’s such a good way to use up your gingerbread, whether it was a successful batch or not, and I’d imagine the lime compliments it perfectly. Yum!

  14. You have SUCH good ice cream ideas! I think this one is perfect for us right now, christmas can be so hot! And I use crumbs form leftover cookies and cakes in everything, from cinnamon rolls to danish fillings or to coat a cake after the frosting.

    • Laura – it was semi-successful – tasted lovely but looked less good so ice cream was the perfect solution!

      Paula – ah, thank you. Using crumbs to coat a cake sounds like a great idea – will have to try!

  15. I am so happy your gingerbread didn’t work out because I am definitely making this. I love the flavor combination, although I never would have thought of it on my own, and it is the perfect excuse to put my ice cream bowl back into the freezer and start making ice cream again. Thanks!

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