Sticky Jamaican ginger cake

  • Preparation time  15 minutes 
  • Cooking time 45-55 minutes 
  • Serves 8-10 slices
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Two of my favourite cakes as a child were McVities Jamaican ginger cake and golden syrup cake,  They conjured up Sunday afternoon tea times. Still quite full from the Sunday roast dinner, tea time consisted of sandwiches and various cakes. Just the sight of those shiny wrappers takes me back to those times, arguing with my little brother who got the end bit.

I have continued to make ginger cake over the years, but only recently have I made both a gluten-free and vegan one I like and is reminiscent of my childhood favourites.  A ginger cake has to be sticky on top, never dry. The ginger should provide a lovely warmth but not overpowering.

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To achieve a sticky, glossy top to the cake, you need patience. Once cooled the cake has to be wrapped and stored away for 2-3 days. This is not easy, because the aroma of it cooking or cooling on the side is very tempting but worth the wait.


If you want to ramp up the flavour of this beautiful cake, you could add either some delicious stem ginger or candied ginger.

You could also add some chopped medjool dates.


I have made this recipe using plain flour, gluten-free Dove Farms plain flour and my homemade gluten-free plain mix.


  • 75 g black treacle
  • 75 g golden syrup
  • 75 g dark brown sugar
  • 175 g plain flour, 
  • 80 g dairy free butter
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (flax egg)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • zest of 1 orange (optional)
  • 125 ml dairy free milk, or combination of vegan yogurt and milk

Orange ginger drizzle (optional)

  • 30g of sieved icing sugar
  • Drop of orange extract
  • Handful of crystallized ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment or a liner.

2. Place the golden syrup, sugar and black treacle and butter in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and set aside. Do not boil.

3. Mix together 2 tbsp of the ground flaxseeds and 6 tbsp of warm milk and leave to thicken.

4. In a large bowl sieve the flour, baking powder, spices and add the orange zest.

5. Pour the melted mixture over the dry ingredients and mix in, next add the milk and the flaxseed mix.

6. Pour into a baking tin and bake for 45 -55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean once inserted into the middle of the cake.

7. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes, once cooled wrap in baking parchment and store in an airtight container and leave for 2 days. I know this is hard to do. You need to be patient to achieve the nice sticky top.

Have on its own or serve with lashings of custard.


Yes this cakes freezes so well for up to 3 months either as a whole cake or in slices.

If you make this, don’t forget to tag me on twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too.

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2 thoughts on “Sticky Jamaican ginger cake

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  1. Wonderful … this takes me back to my childhood too. The Sunday dinner and then cakes for tea. McVities was such a household name although I must say your cake looks much tastier 🙂

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