When I was younger, there were two regular cake editions in the house; Madeira cake and Jamaican ginger cake. Even though they weren’t strictly for me, that wouldn’t stop me from slicing pieces off anyway in hopes mum wouldn’t notice. Now, for younger me, Madeira cake was a recognisable cake that I knew I’d probably enjoy. Plain and buttery, just like a normal sponge, I wasn’t afraid to steal portions. Jamaican ginger cake, on the other hand, was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Sticky, dense and with a deep, rich and unfamiliar smell, I was put off by the brownness of it all.
Like every child who won’t eat something because they don’t like the look of it, I didn’t try the ginger cake that regularly featured in my cupboard, for a long time. I don’t know what eventually persuaded me to try some (most likely after my exacerbated mother said ‘oh for god sake, just try it’), yet after I did eventually try it I found the flavour addictive. Anyone who has had Jamaican ginger cake knows that you can’t just have one slice – the stickiness and the heat that the ginger provides means you’ll always want seconds. Luckily, this replica is even better than the shop-bought variety that regularly appeared throughout my childhood and is a great alternative to Christmas cake, something I definitely will not try.
This Jamaican Ginger Cake has been adapted from the Great British Bake Off Christmas Cookbook to make it dairy free, but just use whatever suits your dietary requirements. This recipe includes stem ginger, which provides the heat, but it’s not necessary as the ginger, mixed spice and black treacle combined, make a beautifully dark and flavoursome sponge. It’s also a very quick cake to make, going from ingredients to a cake ready to eat in just over 1 hour (not bad when you don’t like the faff of having to let a cake cool in order to decorate!).
- 100g golden syrup
- 100g black treacle
- 100g dark brown sugar
- 100g dairy-free butter (such as flora freedom spread)
- 175g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 large egg
- 100g stem ginger in syrup, chopped finely
- 100ml dairy-free milk (such as soy)
- Preheat the oven to 170c and grease and line a 450g loaf tin (a small loaf tin)
- Melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter together in a saucepan until melted and combined
- Put all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then make a well in the centre and whisk in butter mixture, followed by the egg, milk and finally the stem ginger to form a smooth runny batter
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin slightly before slicing and serving
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