Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing

Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing

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(185 ratings)


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Cooking time

Cook: 50 mins - 1 hr

Skill level



Serves 12

Try this moist and gooey stem ginger cake

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 115g butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 115g dark muscovado sugar
  • 115g black treacle
  • 115g golden syrup
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 85g drained stem ginger, finely grated
  • 1 egg

For the icing

  • 50g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

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  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Butter and line an 18cm round, 7cm deep cake tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.
  2. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Put the sugar, treacle, syrup and milk in a medium saucepan and heat, gently stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to just below boiling point.
  4. Add the stem ginger to the flour mixture, then pour in the treacle mixture, stirring as you go with a wooden spoon. Break in the egg and beat until all the mixture is combined and it resembles a thick pancake batter. Pour this into prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out fairly clean. Leave to cool completely in tin before turning cake out. (To freeze: wrap in greaseproof paper, then in cling film. Freeze for up to 1 month.)
  5. To make the icing, mix together icing sugar and lemon zest, then gradually add lemon juice until you have a smooth, slightly runny icing, adding more juice, if needed. Drizzle icing in a zig-zag pattern over surface of cake, turn cake around and drizzle again to create the cross-hatched finish (see below). Cake keeps for up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, February 2004

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issydimples's picture
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Beautifully moist cake! Made the icing thicker and it looked better, and was easier to drizzle, I took on the hints and used less treacle and more syrup and i think it benefited from that as it was still treacly. Kids loved it, it didn't last two days :)

76trombones's picture
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Fantastic cake. I made mine in a 20cm cake tin and baked it for 40 mins and it was perfectly cooked. I also chopped rather than grated the stem ginger. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time, I'll use a thicker lemon icing and more of it. I can't comment on how well it keeps as it was all eaten in about 4 days by 2 of us as it was so lovely!'s picture

Easy to make and utterly delicious ginger cake. Friends and family always ask me to make this for them and for special occasions - this is easily my favourite cake recipe!

pastygirl's picture

I've only ever made cakes from a packet mix maybe twice but decided to give this one a go and it was absolutely scrummy. I'm going to make a second one to keep for a week or so to see how it matures, the first one didn't last very long! Thank you BBC :)

cwehrmeier's picture
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Absolutely love this recipe, will bake again for Xmas. I didn't have any treacle so I baked it without and it was still delicious, not too sweet which is what I like.

allielovetocook's picture
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Mmmm .. made this yesterday for the first time in aaaages (too many other fabulous Good Food recipes!!) .. and I added slightly more stem ginger (finely chopped rather than grated), and a tiny touch more syrup and treacle. My cake sunk a little in the centre this time, but no matter. I then poked holes in it as it cooled and added several teaspoons of the gorgeous syrup from the stem ginger jar over the cake (it makes the cake glisten and so moist). We took it visiting today and it has made my elderly parents very happy indeed, and the leftovers have been brought home and it is utterly delicious (again). This is my very favourite cake. I might even make it instead of a Christmas cake this year. What a winner!!

gooseberrycrumble's picture
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This cake smells amazing and tastes even better! But, to allow the cake time to really develop the flavours, I had to hide it in a cupboard for a couple of days so that it wouldn't be eaten immediately - by the family, or by myself!

supermome's picture

This is the best ginger cake I've ever tasted and has become a firm favourite in our house. It's never lasted two weeks though!

Gill87's picture
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This ginger cake is gorgeous! And the longer you leave it the more gingery and sticky it becomes. I found the top of my cake cracked in the oven but it doesn't seem to have affected the taste. Although quick and easy to make, it is expensive, I therefore substituted the stem ginger from a jar with crystallised ginger which I chopped. I used gluten free flour and xanthan gum and replaced the milk with soya milk to make it dairy and gluten free which was a success. Nice with or without the icing, also good with custard! Will definitely make it again. It's seriously yummy!

bakingmeg's picture

Absolutely gorgeous cake, couldn't wait to eat it, was still a little warm and would be perfect with some ice cream/cream as a warm pud. Yummy!

Missusoononymous's picture

Can't rate this highly enough - really lovely cake! As previous comments have said it's not the cheapest to make but it's well worth it. One note of caution - the mix is very runny and I found that it started leaking out of my loose bottomed tin - so maybe make sure your tin is leak free! All was well though, I stood it on a baking tray to cook. Also to ice I used the syrup from the ginger mixed with icing sugar instead of lemon. Will be making again and again!

barrybubbles's picture

Very tasty and a nice gingery, dark flavour, and I like the lemon icing too as contrast though my OH says it would be great without too - I can see where warm with custard becomes an option! Oven timing stated was perfect. It will never last 2wks though to see how sticky it will go.....!

lynwoodhouse's picture

This is absolutely divine. So easy to make. Didn't have time to leave it overnight to mature, scoffed down by family almost immediately. Added whole lemon rind and used only golden syrup with a splash of maple syrup. Can't wait to make again. Try it you won't be disappointed !

treetophouse's picture

Yummy! Made it yesterday to take round to a friend's for dinner. At first I thought the treacle overpowered the ginger flavour but it really does improve with age - even just one day! I've hidden some away in a container to try in a couple of days' time. This lovely cake goes well with anything creamy - vanilla icecream or even smooth greek yoghurt

bean_mother's picture

Really easy to make. Added an extra tbsp of ground ginger and substituted some golden syrup with syrup from the stem ginger. Delicious!

loauty's picture

I have made this cake several times and it has always been perfect, however made it today and it has sunk in the middle. Maybe it was because I opened the oven when it had 20mins to go, anyway it still looks and smells amazing!

Zoe4's picture

Seriously seriously good! The cake was so moist and delicious - couldn't help but mmmm when eating it! It did sink in the middle slightly (not sure why?...Any tips would be great!) but it still tasted great!

HGosal's picture

Great flavor, very moist and sticky. Flavor definitely matures longer it's left, make the day before serving and wrap in foil over night. Looking forward to making again. Highly recommended if fan of ginger as it's quite strong to taste

sparrowfield's picture

Gorgeous., though I also adjusted the recipe by using all syrup as I didn't have any treacle, also we only have skimmed milk so had to use that, but it still worked. Seemed to take a little longer to cook, but maybe that's why. Cut it in half - one to freeze and one to use, just taken out frozen one and its perfect.

chickenofpie's picture

Great cake which became lovely and sticky after a few days. Unfortunately it did sink a bit in the middle even but not sure why. Will try again as very tasty! Would be good as a pud with custard too.