Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C - I set my fan oven at 155°C).
Grease and flour or line two 2 pound loaf pans.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt.
Gently stir the chopped crystallised ginger through the flour mixture so it doesn’t stick together.
Put the sugar, butter, ginger root, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer, blend these ingredients together on low.
Then turn the mixer to high and beat together for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Scrape the bowl occasionally.
Using a low speed, beat the flour mixture into the sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool for 20 minutes, before removing from the pans and allowing to cool completely on a rack. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar, or drizzled with vanilla or ginger glaze.
To make the vanilla glaze:
Blend the butter and the icing sugar together in an electric mixer.
Beat in the vanilla.
Gradually add the hot water, a bit at time, until a syrupy consistency is reached.
Drizzle over the cakes.
Allow the glaze to set before slicing the cakes.
To make the ginger glaze:
Whisk the icing sugar and the ground ginger together with a fork.
Gradually add the water, whisking well after each addition, until a smooth, drizzle-able consistency is reached.
Drizzle over the cakes. Allow the glaze to set before slicing the cakes.