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Justin’s Ginger Cake

by Justin Gellatly from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding

This stunning ginger cake recipe from Justin Gellatly blends warming cinnamon, mixed spice and brown sugar with heavenly treacle, golden syrup and stem ginger.


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.

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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.

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Suitable for freezing (although the sponge also keeps well in 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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