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Jamaican Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing


Winter has well and truly arrived and we have been battered by rain and high wind for the past week. What better to bake on a winters day than an old fashioned Jamaican spicy ginger cake. I looked around for a recipe that would deliver a cake from my childhood with a sticky and rich malty texture and found exactly what I was looking for in one of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipes. I added a lot more stem ginger to mine than was originally noted because I love it and added the lemon icing for a tangy contrast to the sticky sweet ginger. You can serve this as a tea cake slice or warm as a pudding with custard or ice cream. It will keep in an airtight container for up to a week


  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 80g dark muscovado sugar
  • 100g black treacle or molasses
  • 100g golden syrup (cane syrup, I think)
  • 50ml dark rum
  • 150g preserved stem ginger(candied ginger/crystalized ginger) finely chopped, plus a little of its syrup
  • 2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4.
  • Grease a loaf tin, round baking tin or oven-proof frying pan that’s about 22cm in diameter, and line with baking parchment.
  • Lightly grease the paper.
  • Melt together the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup either in a pan or microwave, then allow to cool.
  • Place the stem ginger ( keep a few pieces for decoration) into a food processor and add the melted butter and sugar mix to it and blitz till the ginger is finely chopped.
  • Add the eggs and blitz again
  • Sift together the flour, allspice, ginger and salt, then add to the mixture and stir until smooth.
  • Pour into the lined tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
  • To make the icing combine a tablespoon of lemon juice with 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar.
  • 17 Comments Post a comment
    1. I think it would serve the general public better if you translated your recipes into American, or the American language. Stem Ginger? Golden syrup? Black treacle you got right. This comment is not a criticism, more like a friendly nudge is the right direction, Have you ever posted Yorkshire Sticky Parkin, it sounds similar to the Above.?
      I think they sell Tate and Lyle ( From the strong came forth sweetness) Never did really understand that at all. I also ate what we called Jorden Cake never have found a recipe for that either. Thank you for your recipes. Good Luck.

      PS; I make a corn beef pastie that seems to go over very well you should try it.

      July 16, 2011
      • peasepudding #

        Thanks Bernard for the tip, I have looked up the American names for both those ingredients and have updated my blog. Hope I picked the right ingredients.

        July 16, 2011
    2. The treacle, muscovado sugar and rum will give this such dark, malty flavours! Very caribbean. Love it. Wold make a nice change for an afternoon tea!

      July 16, 2011
    3. That sounds wonderful & I am loving the photo too 🙂

      July 16, 2011
      • peasepudding #

        Thanks Mairi, I have been experimenting with light this weekend as I get through another chapter of Pixel to Plate! Just loving the book.

        July 16, 2011
    4. It looks super pretty and I like the shape, perfect and tall! I am not a fan of preserved ginger (the sweet type I mean), I can have it blended in the cake mixture, but do you have any suggestion on a variation for the decoration?


      July 16, 2011
      • peasepudding #

        Hi Alessandra, perhaps some candied lemon rind to go with the lemon icing. I have quite a lot of lemons so I am thinking of making my own in syrup. You could always use some fresh ginger to give it a kick instead of crystalized?

        July 16, 2011
        • Mmmh candied orange too, the colour would look good… and I have a weakness for candied orange. I missed the comment from the American fella before, about translating the recipes into American, or the American language… I guess it would depend on who your public is, and what general public means… for me what some of them say is foreign, so I ask, and learn something new! (well, maybe for me, I like languages and the more terms I know the happier I am!)


          July 20, 2011
        • peasepudding #

          I too like languages so am interested in what other things are called and since the majority of followers are overseas I will try to expand on descriptions to cover a wider audience.

          July 21, 2011
    5. Alli – that looks gorgeous. Awesome photo – the dark background works perfectly – impressed 🙂 Of course, I love the cake too – ginger is one of my favourite flavours (especially in winter), and I can imagine the lemon being a really nice citrusy contrast to the gingery sweetness.
      Sue xo

      July 18, 2011
    6. Oh you dont understand how perfect this is! Ive been looking for a good gingercake recipe recently and your description sounds like just what ive been looking for! Plus the fact i adore Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall means i simply have to try this. I love your adaptations too and think i will keep them, thank you so much! 🙂

      July 18, 2011
      • peasepudding #

        I hope you enjoy it, it is one i will certainly make again and again, very morish.

        July 18, 2011
    7. That looks divine, I adore stem Ginger, although Minister of Booze Cabinet may complain if I pinch his rum, after sloshing his best whisky in my marmalade…:) great pic, love the dark background:)

      July 18, 2011
      • peasepudding #

        You can always skip the rum if you can’t get into the booze cabinet.

        July 18, 2011
    8. Ginger and lemon is such a magical combination!

      July 18, 2011
    9. What a gorgeous cake and I love the ginger in there!

      July 20, 2011
    10. You’re actually making me wish it was Winter here instead of 40 degrees! This cakes sounds dark & delicious.

      July 20, 2011

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