Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ginger cake

This is the only ginger cake recipe I have used in the last 12 years - there just hasn't been a need to look for another one when this works so well, and always brings compliments!

I was a childminder when the EFG was small, and used to look after a child called B after school. Her mum brought us a ginger cake one day, and everyone said how great it was [had lodgers at the time so there were several people to exclaim over how wonderful it was!] so I had to ask for the recipe. The mum explained that this was B's Nanna's Ginger Cake, and so that is how I wrote it down in my old exercise book notebook, and that is how it has remained ever since!

The recipe makes 2 or 3 cakes, in 2lb loaf tins. I use loaf tin liners from Lakeland or Julian Graves, which I would recommend as it is a very runny mixture and would get between cut corners of a loaf tin if I lined it myself with greaseproof paper.

Here we go: Preheat an electric fan oven to 150C. If you have another kind of oven, adjust accordingly.

2 tins

3 tins

12 oz

15 oz

Golden syrup

8 oz

10 oz

Margerine or butter

Melt these two together in a pan over the heat


1 ¼ lb

Self raising flour

2 tsp

2 ½ tsp


4 tsp

5 tsp

Ground ginger

2 tsp

2 ½ tsp

Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp

1 ½ tsp

Ground mixed spice

6 oz

7 ½ oz

Caster sugar

Sieve all the dry stuff together in a big bowl





2 ½

Cups milk (I use an American cup measure)

Beat eggs and milk together in a jug.

So at this point you have cooling syrup and butter in a pan, dry ingredients in a big bowl, and the beaten eggs and milk mixture in a jug. The two or three loaf pans should be ready to go, and the oven is on!

Now you need some kind of beater - I use a small hand held electric mixer, but a big mixer would work well too. You need to mix all the ingredients together in the big bowl, and mix, and mix. It incorporates air, which makes it quite light, but it also needs to make sure that there are no lumps of flour clumping together. So beat very well, and look for clumps.

Pour into the tins and bake in the middle of the oven for anything from 40 minutes to about an hour depending on your oven. I turn them around half way through as one side of my oven has a tendency to burn things. It doesn't matter if it gets a little darkened, but you are looking to remove them from the oven as soon as a skewer/knife/toothpick [depending on where you are in the world!] comes out clean.

Leave them in the tins to cool, and then you have some options.

You can start eating them! Or you can pop one or two into large freezer bags and freeze them as they hold up well in the freezer. Apart from that, if you can bear to wait, you will be rewarded: wrap in tinfoil and put in an airtight tin for up to a week or even a bit longer, and they will start to develop the "stickiness" of a bought Jamaica ginger cake which people seem to love.

If you are making this as a gift, or for a coffee morning, for example, try to plan ahead and make it a few days in advance as it will definitely improve for keeping a few days.

If you have dietary restrictions, note that this also works very well with soya milk, vegan margerine like Vitalite and barley flour. When I could still have soya milk [soya products now give me bad stomach pains] I used to enjoy this cake too. I haven't made it recently for myself, and I haven't tried it with the Dove's Farm gluten free flour, but the barley flour works fine for wheat-free people.

Enjoy - and let us know if you try it out!

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