Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing

Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing

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(289 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

  • 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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Laura Sells's picture
Laura Sells
19th Dec, 2018
17th Nov, 2018
Such a delicious cake, it's now a favourite celebration cake in my house. While it's not the prettiest, it's super tasty and moist. Works every time.
30th Oct, 2018
This is absolutely Divine!! I didn't have preserved ginger so I used crystallised ginger grated and put into the liquid mixture to infuse. I also added a tsp tumeric and tsp ground black pepper for the health benefits. I also made up a full fat version of milk with some left over soured cream. Totally delicious, fabulous texture and consistency. Will be making as Xmas prezzies. Nearly all gone a day later
15th Oct, 2018
I've made this dozens of times and it always turns out well. It's definitely a treat as it it's so high in sugar, but it goes down well after a marathon or trail race. I've only once made the icing. I thought it didn't add anything except cost. I don't usually add the stem ginger, partly on cost grounds but also because a lot of people don't like it.
20th Jul, 2018
This is the best ever ginger cake, never tasted anything sooo good! I had a slight dip in the middle, nothing anyone else but me would have noticed, filled it in with the delicious icing. Next time will reduce the bi-carb by 1/4 of a tsp, which hopefully would remedy this. Cannot understand people complaining about the cost, as once you have bought the ingredients, you have enough for at least 3 cakes, and you would certainly make it again.
3rd Jul, 2018
Great results every time. Big hit all round.
4th Jun, 2018
An excellent recipe and easy to veganise. Just change the butter and milk to dairy free versions and use 2 flaxseed eggs (1 tbsp ground flaxseed to 3 tbsp lukewarm water per egg) to replace the eggs and it works wonderfully. I leave it a couple of days to mature before icing.
25th May, 2018
massive success & delicious cake! Had no issues with sinking
23rd May, 2018
I love ginger and this is one of my favourite cakes ever, and I do a lot of baking! it is so moist and remains that way for quite some time afterwards. I would definitely recommend this cake.
10th Mar, 2018
This is a very good ginger cake recipe and I have tried many. I made this in a loaf tin then stored wrapped in greaseproof paper for two days before serving. I did not bother with the icing as we prefer cakes without and there is really no need as it is a lovely sticky cake just as it is.


10th Nov, 2015
Has anyone tried putting a dash of lemon in the mixture to react with the bicarb, just wondering if it would affect the flavour and help with the sinking in the centre issue?
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Nov, 2015
Oddly enough the gingerbread sinking could quite easily be due to too much baking soda, especially if mixed with an acid like lemon as it makes it very reactive. The mixture converts to carbon dioxide causing it to rise very quickly in the oven then sinking before the cake batter has time to set. A combination of soda and acid is perfect for scones however as they cook very quickly, and are a stiffer mixture. If the cake looks a bit wrinkled this is another sign that there is too much baking soda in the cake, so it is always a good idea to use a 5ml measuring spoon to ensure accuracy. For other tips, take care not to add too much treacle and syrup - oiling a metal spoon when taking them from the tin will help the baker be precise. It is also important to heat the oven in advance and make sure the cake is fully cooked right to the centre before removing from the oven. 
19th Jul, 2014
My cake has cracked. The top looks like a rustic loaf of bread. I don't know how or if this will effect the end product as it's still in the oven. Can anyone shed any light on why the cake has cracked? Thank you!
7th Jul, 2014
Mine curdles in the pan please can you help good food, otherwise it is an amazing cake which everyone loves
18th Jun, 2014
It's in the oven now and my fingers are crossed because the syrup, milk and sugar mix curdled in the pan. anyone know why? I started on a low heat, but maybe stirred too vigorously, would that do it?
24th Mar, 2014
This question is the the Good Food Team. After reading through the comments, several people have commented on the cakes sinking slightly despite following the recipe exactly. There were also a couple of comments regarding the syrup mixture 'curdling'. Perhaps it would be helpful if you could describe what the perfect syrup mixture should look like using photos or even a video. I don't have a saucepan thermometer so have to judge the 'just before boiling' temp which I do by watching for a few small bubbles appearing around the perimeter of the saucepan. Is this a good way to judge? My mix always has a curdled look but I presume this is how it should look? Love the cake!!!
24th Mar, 2014
I have been making this absolutely mouthwatering ginger cake for a few years now and it is always a favourite with family and friends. I make my cake in a 2lb loaf tin but this means that there is a little too much mixture so I use the surplus to make 4/5 buns. My cakes have always been perfect but recently they have started to sink a little in the centre. The quality of the cake is not affected. My husband still loves it! Could it be that I am now using a gas oven instead of electric? I put my cake on the third rack from the bottom which means that the cake is sitting just above centre. Each cake always has a dip in it now. I follow the recipe instructions to the letter and am always careful to sieve the dry ingredients. When the last stage of the mixing is reached where the egg is combined the mixture looks fine with little bubbles popping on the surface. At this stage I pour the mix into the loaf tin and leave about 1 inch for the cake to rise. My oven has been warming from the time I start to weigh out my ingredients. Any suggestions would be most welcome.
5th Jan, 2019
I reduced the raising agent by 1/4 teaspoon, solved the problem
16th Mar, 2014
Ok, just made this cake and it rose very quickly over the tin and has now sunk in the middle. What did I do wrong?
goodfoodteam's picture
24th Mar, 2014
Hi there. Did you bake the cake in a deep tin? If so it sounds like your oven may not have been at the correct temperature, you can check this with an oven thermometer.


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