Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing

Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing

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(317 ratings)

Cook: 50 mins - 1 hr


Serves 12

Try this moist and gooey stem ginger cake

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal285
  • fat10g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs50g
  • sugars31g
  • fibre1g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.81g
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  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 115g butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing



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

  • 115g dark muscovado sugar
  • 115g black treacle
  • 115g golden syrup
    Golden syrup

    Golden syrup

    goal-dun sir-rup

    Golden syrup is a translucent, golden-amber coloured, sweet syrup, which can only be produced…

  • 250ml whole milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 85g drained stem ginger, finely grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 egg



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

For the icing

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


  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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jul, 2020
This turned out amazing, really moist, will be definitely using this recipe again thanks
7th Jun, 2020
This recipe is amazing. I made it for my husbands birthday but instead of using this icing I made a lemon cream cheese frosting to go on top and down the sides, it was delicious! The cake itself is easy to make and is so moist definitely a recipe I will use again and again!
13th May, 2020
Seriously impressed with this cake. Rich, dense, moist and an amazing flavour. A complete winner.
Rashmi Mohindra's picture
Rashmi Mohindra
20th Apr, 2020
Turned out amazing
12th Apr, 2020
The most delicious ginger cake. Moist and easy to make.
30th Mar, 2020
Made this cake for my husbands birthday, as we are in Covid-19 lockdown and I raided the cupboards to see what ingredients I had! I didn't have muscovado sugar so used coconut sugar instead, and I didn't have black treacle and used maple syrup instead. Instead of the lemon icing I did a lime one and it was delicious. Due to the fact that the mixture is very much a batter, I did line my tin with greaseproof paper, as the bottom was a pop out one. The cake was a real success, very light, improves by the day and one I will certainly be making again :)
Anna Lambe's picture
Anna Lambe
28th Feb, 2020
Absolutely love this recipe. I've made it dozens of times over the years. Generally I use semi-skim milk and often I will replace half the muscovado with a sugar substitute and it has never failed to impress. I don't usually ice it, but instead pour over a little extra ginger syrup to serve. Gingery, dense, rich and moist and perfect with a cup of tea.My husband's eyes light up whenever he sees this cake and he sneaks extra bits when I'm not looking. Plus it keeps well for several days in an airtight container. Right, enough jibber jabber from me, time to go make it!
ginger-snaps's picture
7th Feb, 2020
Ooooooh~ ginger
trumpetgirl's picture
4th Feb, 2020
Had a complete disaster with this one. Followed the recipe to the letter, baked for an hour, stuck the skewer in & it cam out as clean as a whistle. Took it out of the tin & thought it hadn't risen as much as it should, but didn't worry. Decorated it, cut into it & the whole cake was raw!!! Have no idea how it went so wrong, but i won't be trying it again, because it's not the cheapest cake to make!! If anyone can suggest anything that i may have done wrong, i'm happy to hear it.
Karl Neilson's picture
Karl Neilson
2nd Dec, 2019
Excellent recipe, produced a wonderful tasty cake, that everyone enjoyed. I cooked this in a loaf tin, it still came out very well. Best cake i ever made !!


Cookiecaron's picture
21st Aug, 2019
I want to make this as part of a buffet does anyone know if it will keep for 2 days before serving?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Aug, 2019
Thanks for your question. This cake will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container.
21st Nov, 2018
Can this cake be frozen?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Nov, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes you can. All our freezable recipes are marked with a blue star above the nutritional information.
18th Oct, 2017
Would it work if I substitute in soya milk?
goodfoodteam's picture
20th Oct, 2017
Thanks for your question. We haven't tried this with soya milk. It will work but will change the flavour. If you are dairy-free you will also need to find a substitute for the butter. We also have a number of dairy-free alternatives on the website, including:
14th Mar, 2017
Can I substitute golden syrup ?
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. We haven't tested the recipe using an alternative to golden syrup and would suggest using this to guarantee best results. If you want to substitute with another syrup, results will vary due to different flavour and properties.
9th Aug, 2016
Has anyone ever made cupcakes from this recipe? If so how many does it make and cooking time in a fan assisted gas oven? Thanks!
10th Feb, 2016
Hi, Ive made this cake a few times. Its amazing, it tastes great, smells wonderful. Frankly its dangerous to dieters! Mine always sinks a bit though. Any suggestions as to how I can fix this? I measure my bicarb and level it off with a knife.....any help much appreciated. Thanks!


27th Jul, 2019
Fabulous recipe, I also have sinking problems but tastes amazing. Didn't have stem ginger first time so just used grated fresh peeled ginger - WOW- what a cake- we like to eat it as a desert with custard or ice cream. Don't bother with the stem ginger- the fresh ginger gives it an amazing taste.
jaywalker's picture
20th May, 2019
I have made this so many times now, its our favourite cake. I tend to use coconut milk or cream instead of regular milk, and apple sauce instead of butter...i just mix it into the dry ingredients. Its amazing slightly warmed up with custard after its been maturing in the tin overnight.
30th Dec, 2018
Try making these in mini bundt cake moulds for perfect Christmas treats. Used semi skimmed lactofree milk and that's what we have, worked perfectly.
Sarah Teachey's picture
Sarah Teachey
12th Nov, 2018
Made this in the States and had to make several substitutions for unavailable ingredients - it still turned out WONDERFULLY. I hope Tom Dolby (the recipe creator) doesn't think I've butchered his recipe! I ended up making my own Mixed Spice and Stem Ginger with recipes I found on the internet. Not realizing I'd have to grate the ginger later, I cut mine into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes. I ended up finely mincing the Stem Ginger and it worked well! Here are the changes I had to make: 1. Substituted dark brown sugar for muscovado sugar. 2. Substituted molasses for treacle. 3. Substituted honey for golden syrup. I will definitely be making this again to share at work!
31st Dec, 2017
Type of milk makes no difference whatsoever. I used 1% fat milk and it was fine. Use more icing sugar to make a thicker drizzle icing, the thin glaze just disappears into the cake.
26th Dec, 2017
I chopped the stem ginger for the occasional lovely chunks of ginger in the cake which I enjoy. I used semi milk without any issues. Cake was baked for 45 mins which was perfect in my oven.
12th Dec, 2016
Three tips: 1. Use 3x the amount of ginger 2. Don't overbake (i.e. I found 50 mins slightly too long) 3. Substitute milk for buttermilk (or milk and fresh lemon juice premixed for 10 mins) for a lighter texture Oh and use more icing sugar than suggested
28th Feb, 2016
I have just made a massive boo boo. I have added the wet ingredients to the flour without heating and melting sugar!!!!! doh, was to late to do anything about so have just had to mix and put in the oven,hope it comes out ok
10th Nov, 2015
Use half cream and half milk, lovely. Also if you can't grate your stem ginger, use two sharp knives and chop it small, you'll taste it in the cake, but it's lovely. Nice hot with custard, lovely cold on it's own. Best made when you're home alone, then you don't have to share it!
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