Justin's Ginger Cake

Dark, rich, spicy and moist, this is one of my best recipes and probably the best ginger cake in the world, if I do say so myself. You can ice it and serve it as a celebratory cake, but it is also great as a dessert – serve it warm, with cider and caramel sauce and some vanilla ice cream.

Serves 12-14


300g self-raising flour
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
375ml full fat milk
165g soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
85g black treacle
165g golden syrup
65g stem ginger, chopped
80g stem syrup from the ginger jar
1 egg, beaten
For the cider and caramel sauce:
125ml apple juice
500ml cider
100g granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon
55g butter, softened
15g cornflour

Essential kit

You will need a 26cm springform cake tin.


Suitable for freezing (although the sponge also keeps wellin an airtight box)
Preparation time: 20 minutes Resting time: 2 hours Cooking time: 1 hour


First sift the flour and ground spices into a large bowl. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar and let it dissolve over a medium heat, stirring frequently. As soon as it’s at scalding point, remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda: watch out, it will fizz up a little. Leave to one side for 10 minutes.

Put the butter, black treacle and golden syrup into a medium saucepan, place on a medium heat and slowly bring up to a light simmer, until the ingredients have melted and formed a rich syrup. Whisk this mixture into the flour little by little; it will be quite firm to start with but once about half of it is in it will be a bit lighter on the whisk. Then gradually whisk in the milk mixture, until smooth. If it’s not smooth, pass the mixture through a sieve. Add the stem ginger pieces, ginger syrup and egg, give it a good whisk, then cover the bowl and leave to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/fan 140ºC/gas 3. Lightly grease a 26cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Give the cake mixture a good stir and pour it into the prepared tin. Bake for about 1 hour, until firm to the touch.

Meanwhile make the cider and caramel sauce. Put the apple juice and cider into a large, heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by one-third.

Put the sugar, lemon juice and 25ml of water into another large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat the mixture slowly to dissolve the sugar, stirring, then bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat until the mixture caramelizes to a dark golden colour. Add the reduced cider/ apple juice (this stops the caramel from going any darker) and whisk in the butter. Mix in the cornflour with 15ml of water. Bring the cider mix up to a simmer and whisk in the cornflour mix. Simmer until thickened, then take off the heat and leave for 5–10 minutes to thicken a bit more.

When the cake is ready, leave it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn out and either place on a rack to cool completely or serve straight away, with the warm cider and caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

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