Jamaica Ginger Cake Recipe

by Cake and Cookie recipes on · with 24 comments

Jamaica Ginger Cake

Jamaica Ginger Cake is a dark soft ginger bread sponge cake. It is delicious served as a normal cake, or cut into slices and spread with butter. It also goes very nicely as a pudding warmed up with extra golden syrup and custard. This recipe makes a large 2lb loaf.


250 g (9 oz or 2 cups) plain flour 1 tsp ground ginger 1½ tsp ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 3 tbsp milk 125 g (4½ oz or 1/2 cup & 1 tbsp) butter or baking margarine 125 g (4½ oz or 1/3 cup & 1 tbsp) black treacle 125 g (4½ oz or 1/3 cup & 1 tbsp) golden syrup 125 g (4½ oz or 1/2 packed cup & 1 tbsp) dark soft brown sugar (or muscavado sugar) 110 ml (1/5 pt or 3 3/4 fl oz or about 1 tbsp less than half a cup) water 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Jamaica Ginger Cake Recipe

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F or Gas mark 3 or 150°C for a fan oven).

Grease a 2lb loaf tin with melted butter or hard margarine. Line the tin (both the bottom and sides) with greaseproof paper, and then butter this as well.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.

In a small bowl mix together the bicarbonate of soda and the milk.

In another bowl or saucepan, melt and mix together the butter, black treacle, golden syrup, sugar, and water. If doing this over the hob in a saucepan, be sure that the mixture doesn't get too hot and boil. Alternatively, you can use a microwave, make sure you take the mixture out and stir it at regular intervals to prevent boiling.

Add the melted syrup mix to the flour and spices and stir in well.

Mix in the eggs a little at a time. Then add the milk & bicarb mix, and stir this in as well.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hr 15 mins - 1 hr 45 mins. You may need to cover the top of the cake with foil part-way through the baking process to stop the top from getting burnt.

Cool the cake in the tin for a few minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

24 Responses to “Jamaica Ginger Cake Recipe”

  1. Tried this recipe, the mixture over flowed a 2lb loaf tin and because it was burning on top I had to cover the top with foil. Taking it from the oven to put the foil on made the cake sink.
    But after all that it tasted really good. Try this recipe the problems may have been my fault.

    • Thanks for the feedback Susanne. I’ve never had it overflow the tin myself, though I can see how it would be possible, as the mixture rises quite a bit above the top of the tin. I’ll try making a slightly smaller version (should still be nice and big, just not quite so large), and if that goes okay I’ll update the recipe with the reduced amounts of ingredients.

      Regarding the foil, it is best to shape the foil so it will fit over the cake while the cake is still in the oven. Then just pull the cake out of the oven, pop the foil on top, and push it back in again. You should be able to do this pretty quickly, and hopefully avoid problems with the cake sinking.


  2. Thanks for the feedback on this recipe, I’ve now amended the recipe so it makes a smaller amount, and there should be no chance of the mixture overflowing the tin when it rises. Even at the reduced size it still makes a nice big (and tasty) cake.

  3. I made this cake to the original recipe and it didn’t overflow. I have since made it with the amended quantities but it isn’t quite as super yummy and sticky as before. Please can you confirm the quantities from the original recipe so that I can use them in the future.

    • Hi Emma

      The original ingredient amounts are:

      340 g (12 oz) plain flour
      1½ tsp ground ginger
      2 tsp ground cinnamon
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      4 tbsp milk
      170 g (6 oz) butter or baking margarine
      170 g (6 oz) black treacle
      170 g (6 oz) golden syrup
      170 g (6 oz) dark soft brown sugar (or muscavado sugar)
      150 ml (1/4 pt) water
      2 eggs, lightly beaten

      Cooking time is between 1 hr 15 mins – 1 hr 45 mins.

  4. I made this yesterday with the original recipe served with dulce de leche, I can happily say that there’s nothing left of it. Thank you so much it’s beyond delicious.

  5. Tried this recipe this morning – used the smaller quantity recipe – it overflowed but cooked beautifully – overflow ‘portion’ good for sneaky taste-test. Was wondering – does flavour improve with keeping it for a day or two before eating?

    • Hi Neil

      Apologies for the greatly delayed reply. The cake does not normally come out with a sticky top.

      I tried this, which while not quite the same as a McVities Jamaica Ginger cake top, is softer and stickier than the recipe will normally give: In the oven I placed a roasting tin full of boiling water. I then placed the loaf tin with the mixture in it in the roasting pan of water, and covered the top of the loaf tin with a sheet of non-stick baking paper. I had lined the loaf tin so that the liner stuck up above the rim. This ensured that the piece I added on top would not touch the cake’s top even when the cake had risen. I folded the edges of the piece on top to make sure it stayed in place.

      I then cooked the cake at the same temperature and timing as normal. This isn’t quite the same as steaming the cake properly, and it doesn’t make the cake top quite as soft as steaming it properly would. But it is easier and close enough in my opinion. After cooking the cake, when it was partly cooled I brushed the top with some warmed golden syrup. Then leave for a day or so for the syrup to soak in a bit.



      • To get the sticky top of the cake like shop bought, Once out of the oven I take it out of the tin and put it straight into a large plastic bag and seal the bag. if you leave it to cool in the bag this creates a sticky top.

  6. Checking on quantities -4oz is 1/2 cup. So 4 1/2 oz of treacle and syrup would be more than half cup, not closer to 1/3 cup. Am I wrong?

    I am SO looking forward to it -I have it in the oven right now, went with 1/2 cup instead. We shall see how it turns out! Thanks for the recipe -I was feeling homesick for this cake.

    • Hi Sinead

      Apologies for the long delayed reply – I hope the cake came out well for you.

      I weighed out a 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp of golden syrup (and treacle) and it came to about 4 1/2 oz, so I think that measurement is correct. This is with US size cups. I hope it worked nicely with 1/2 cup anyway, I wouldn’t have thought there would be any issues.


  7. This recipe tastes amazing
    To the people complaining about overflow, you have to adjust the tin size as some people’s cups are bigger than others … mine are huge so I simply use a larger tin.

  8. loved this recipe.
    Cake rose out of tin but did not overflow I had cut greaseproof paper to stand proud of the tin which I suppose helped.
    Also prepared tin foil before to shape of the tin so it slipped over easily while still in the oven.
    Brilliant thanks very much

  9. Hi
    Mine is in the oven as I write this. Hope the reply comes in time lol. The smell from my kitchen is Devine
    The oven time says between 1hr15 and 1hr 45

    What is the best way to check it is ready
    Think I’ll be eating mine warm, don’t think I’ll be able to wait long


  10. I made the Jamaican Ginger Cake and the final product was wonderful. I used the recipe as is, excerpt I increased the ginger to 4.5 teaspoon I like a strong ginger taste. My baking pan was silicone 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 and did not have any overflow issues. I wrapped it up and kept if for 2 days. The result was a sticky, gingery and moist cake.

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