Ginger cake but not as you know it…

If like me you suffer the conundrum of what to have with your cup of tea or coffee at about 11am every morning, to see you through to lunch, then this recipe is for you.  I found this recipe for a Jamaica Ginger cake in a Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall book and it has been a revelation.  It has a depth of flavour that I’ve never experienced in a cake before, sticky, moist, rich, only for adults,  this cake will solve your ‘elevenses’ problem – it might even become a problem in its own right, seriously, you might not be able to live without this cake once you’ve tasted it.  And it’s laced with rum, that can’t be bad…where’s the rum?  There has to be rum…Aaaarrrrggghhh!

I’ve been baking this cake a lot recently and I haven’t met one person who didn’t like it.  When people taste it for the first time their eyes usually light up and a joyous look clouds their eyes, as they realise what a real, home-baked ginger cake should taste like – it’s a million miles away from the stuff you get in the supermarket.

There’s a lot going on in this cake, it has a very high sugar content, but that doesn’t make it too sickly sweet as you’ve got ground ginger and allspice which give the cake a warm background spice.  Make sure you buy the really old school dark sailor rum, there’s no point making with any other type of rum, it just doesn’t work as well.

It’s a dead simple cake to bake, and actually improves with age, the dark rum seems to react with all the sugar, treacle and syrup to take this cake to another level of flavour.  So my advice is make it two days before you want to eat it and let it sit tight in a sealed tupperware box.  This cake is definitely worth waiting for.  I like to spread it with butter and a cup of tea on the side, but if you’re anything like me you’ll want a second slice, as it is very, very moreish.


75g unsalted butter

125g soft brown sugar

150g black treacle

150g syrup

75ml dark rum

2 eggs, lightly beaten

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp ground all spice

1 tsp ground ginger

A pinch of salt

75g of preserved stem ginger, roughly chopped


First of all grease with butter and line the bottom and sides of a 1 litre loaf tin with baking paper.  In a pot melt the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup, mix together.

Once the dark sticky mix has cooled a little, add the rum, and the two beaten eggs.  At this point I would implore you to dip your finger into this nectar and have a taste, go on, you know you want to.

Now onto the dry ingredients, sift the flour, allspice, ginger and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a little well in the middle.  Pour in the melted wet ingredients and mix together.  Add in the chopped stem ginger and pour into the loaf tin.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for about 40 minutes.  The cake is cooked when you can insert a skewer into the cake and it will come out clean.  Pour some of the syrup from the jar of stem ginger over the cake and allow to completely cool in the loaf tin.  Place in a tupperware container and let the rum do its magic.


About The Pickled Quince

I'm a Belfast native, living in Dublin who is passionate about good food, wine and beer, and all the excellent produce that Ireland has to offer. View all posts by The Pickled Quince

4 responses to “Ginger cake but not as you know it…

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