Squidgy lemon-ginger cake

Squidgy lemon-ginger cake

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(38 ratings)

Ready in 2 hours, plus cooling


Cuts into 12 slices
This dense, sticky ginger cake is easy to make and a great Sunday teatime treat

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable when undecorated

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal376
  • fat16g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs57g
  • sugars30g
  • fibre2g
  • protein4g
  • salt0.53g
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  • 200g date, stoned



    Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…

  • 200g butter, cut in pieces



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 300g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 50g fresh or frozen root ginger, grated
  • 1 lemon, grated zest



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 Bramley apple (about 250g/9oz) peeled and chopped into pea-sized pieces
    Bramley apples

    Bramley apple

    bram-lee app-el

    A large, flattish cooking apple, green in appearance but sometimes with specks of red. The flesh…

  • 50g white chocolate
    White chocolate squares, stacked

    White chocolate

    why-t chok-lit

    To purists, this is not chocolate because it is made only from the fat or butter of the cacao…

  • 1 tbsp chopped candied lemon peel, to decorate



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 tbsp sugar ‘coffee crystals’, to decorate



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line a 20cm round cake tin (about 8cm deep) with baking parchment. Put dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Heat the butter in a small pan until melted, and stir in the sugar. Allow to cool slightly.

  2. Beat in the eggs, ginger and lemon zest. Drain the dates and chop them finely. Scrape them into the pan too, and mix well. Stir in the flour, then apple. Spoon into the cake tin, put the tin on a baking sheet (this stops the base browning too much) then bake for about 1¼ hrs, until well risen. A skewer stuck into the cake should come out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Leave it to cool in the tin.

  3. Break the white chocolate into a non-metallic bowl. Heat in the microwave, on medium setting, in one minute bursts until melted (or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water). Remove the cake from the tin and peel off the paper. Trickle the chocolate over the cake, scatter with the crystallised lemon peel and coffee crystals and leave to set before serving. If well wrapped, the cake keeps for at least a week – it just gets better and better. Or, wrap the cooled cake in several layers of cling film before decorating, and freeze for up to two months.

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Comments, questions and tips

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22nd Aug, 2017
Very good cake. Did not turn out as a pudding, but I did cook it for an extra 15 mins. 200g sugar is ample. I chopped dates before soaking and added extra powdered ginger. Did not bother with topping. Would defs recommend
28th Oct, 2016
Wow this is great! Made this recipe for my mums birthday but after reading the comments didn't bother with the topping or apples and also used less sugar (200g) - it is definitely sweet enough, great consistency and DELICIOUS!!
23rd Mar, 2014
Made this today, without the apples and topping. It was delicious; very rich and sweet but that's how I like it! Very easy to make, and baked perfectly in the time given in the recipe.
13th Apr, 2013
One of the nicest cakes I have ever eaten. I didn't do the topping but I looked up the recipe for a butterscotch sauce that is normally put with Sticky Date Puddings and used that instead. I had the cake warm with the warm sauce and it was absolutely beautiful. Will definitely be making it again.
12th Nov, 2012
The recipe says use a small pan to melt butter in, but a larger one is needed if all the ingredients are mixed in the same pan. My cake is still cooking so can't comment on flavour, but was very easy to make.
4th Oct, 2012
Afraid this cake wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. More like a pudding. Had it with custard as it was so dense, and it took so long to prepare and a lot longer to cook than stated. Don't think I'll bother again.
22nd May, 2012
I've baked loads of recipes from BBC Good Food, but never felt the need to comment. THIS CAKE IS AMAZING! I have a huge sweet tooth, so would probably cover in white chocolate next time as the crunch of the topping works really well. I also laced with lemon drizzle and put crushed almonds on the top as I couldn't find the coffee sugar. Highly recommend this recipe!
19th Mar, 2012
Be sure to have fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of drinking water on hand for that is all you will able to consume for the next 24 hours after eating a slice of this cake. You feel the density of this cake as the evening progresses. O rating from me
11th Mar, 2012
Baked this yesterday, it took a lot longer than it stated and after 1 hour 40 minutes it was well risen but still seemed quite moist. I left it for a few minutes more and it appeared to just about ready. The cake did shrink after removing from the oven and I was worried that it still wasn't cooked through. I decorated the cake and when cooled down cut my self a slice. I was very disappointed! The cake was moist, very doughy in texture, possibly under cooked. However the under lying flavour was not ginger but mostly sugar and butter, almost toffee like, then you get the dates and the candied lemon. I used 52g of fresh ginger but you would hardly know it was there. I would say this was more sticky toffee pudding than a ginger cake. I won't be making it again!
8th Feb, 2012
have made this cake several times now and it is just fabulous, have never bothered with the topping and never missed it, great cold or warmed up,- serve with cream or custard -much nicer and lighter than christmas pud.....i make mine in a square tin and slice into squares, freezes great too..... suggest you use good quality dates, i have found the cheaper pressed block type have had tough pieces in which spoil it


12th Oct, 2019
My family love this cake but my son is now on a gluten free diet. How can I adapt this recipe to be gluten free? Which flours/amounts are most successful?
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Oct, 2019
Thanks for your question. Simply replace the self-raising flour for gluten-free self-raising flour. Before scraping the mixture into the tin, check it drops off the spoon easily. If not, stir in a splash or two of milk to loosen the mixture. Gluten-free flours need a bit more liquid than standard flours. The other ingredients shouldn't contain gluten but it's always worth checking packaging for allergens.
21st Mar, 2019
I've made this a number of times but every time it sinks in the middle. I know that this has been asked before but how can this be avoided? It goes into the oven within a minute of mixing, the oven door isn't opened during cooking and the only rising agent is that in the self raising flour. Anything else??
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Mar, 2019
We're sorry to hear your cakes have been sinking. Another main reason for this is if the cake isn't sufficiently cooked - perhaps the oven is running at a slightly lower temperature than the setting indicates or you've used a slightly smaller tin so that the cake is deeper. We'd suggest giving the cake another 5 - 10 mins. We hope this helps.
5th Dec, 2015
Do you have to line the whole tin or just the bottom?
goodfoodteam's picture
14th Dec, 2015
Lining the whole tin is best for this type of cake.
2nd Dec, 2015
Do you have to line the entire tin or just the bottom?
4th Sep, 2014
I've made this a few times but it always sinks in the middle. Does anyone find this? How can I stop this happening? I even tried adding a small amount of bicarb with no success
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Sep, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. There are three main reasons for this: a/ the oven door has been opened before the cake has set, b/ the cake didn't go in the oven as soon as the mixture was ready or c/ there's too much raising agent. 
28th Oct, 2016
You can definitely use less sugar in this recipe - I used about 200g and it was plenty sweet enough (also didn't bother with topping or apples!!)
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