Sunday, 24 June 2012

Jamaican Ginger Cake #1

Last weekend, Mr P and I were mostly dining out at the expense of others, and I have to say that if there's one thing in the world that's better than cooking for your friends, it's being cooked for by them! Sunday night saw a flithy dirty German (Swabian, actually) cheese fest, courtesy of Mel. I'll leave the teaser at that, for now, as I fully intend to post her recipe for Spaetzle (home-made fat pasta noodles baked with cheese into nightly calorific guilty goodness) in the not too distant future.

Friday night was an evening of firsts. We were invited round to experience Messner's very first attempt at Lasagne (and a veggie one, to boot!). Despite being a bloody good cook, there are probably numerous reasons why he's never attempted Lasagne before, not least because he's got a weird, almost phobic dislike of cheese. I kid you not. Apparently, it was the first time he'd bought cheese, and grating it gave him the shudders.

For me, there were also a  few firsts - for one, I found out that it's possible to take aerial acrobatic/silks classes just down the road from us... and was alerted to the fact by the multi-talented (and at this point, leotard-clad) artist Sarah, or  Juggler Sarah, as I like to think of her. Two more firsts for me - I'd never before tried Lasagne with a creme fraiche-based white sauce in it (and can now highly recommend), but it was also my first attempt at a Jamaican Ginger Cake.

So why the #1 in the post title, then? Well, whilst this cake was definitely gingery, spicy, and moist, it didn't quite have the requisite 'sticky' quality that I always associate with Jamaican Ginger Cake, probably because I ran out of treacle, and couldn't put nearly as much in the batter as I'd been planning. So, with that caveat, here's the recipe I used. If you want to give this a try, I'd highly recommend adding more treacle, perhaps half as much again, or even double what I used.

Jamaican Ginger Cake #1
400g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
5 cloves, crushed
2tsp ground ginger
250g butter or margarine
210g soft dark brown sugar
4tblsp grated ginger
200 ml milk
85g treacle
3 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius, and prepare your cake tin. A large loaf tin would be the traditional receptacle, but I used a 25cm Bundt tin, to be a bit different. Sieve togther the dry ingredients into a large bowl (this does not include the grated ginger).

2. Melt together the butter and treacle in a saucepan on the hob. When melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then gradually stir in the milk. This will help to reduce the temperature futher so that the eggs don't cook when you add them.

3. Next, add the eggs to the liquid mixture, beating continuously. Stir in the grated ginger.

4. Gradually mix the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stirring to form a smooth batter. Transfer the cake mixture to your prepared cake tin, and bake for around 40-50 minutes, depending on the kind of tin you used. Mine took about 45 minutes. You can leave it to cool on a wire rack, but there is definitely something to be said for serving it whilst it's still warm.

5. This moist cake is yummy on its own, or is also great served with a cup of tea. However, harking back to the old shared house days when Messner would return from the corner shoup with a Jamaican ginger cake and a tin of custard, I'm afraid we did the unthinkable with this cake....

...and it was yummy. Go on, try it... I dare you!


  1. Love jamaican ginger cake, definitely gonna give this a go! can you use golden syrup or maple syrup instead of treacle? thanks

  2. Hello there, thanks for the query! Normally I am all for substituting ingredients, but I don't think it would be worth your while in this case. You'd still get a passable cake with maple syrup or golden syrup, but I think for the really dark richness of a Jamaican ginger cake, you really need the extra oomph of the treacle. As I say, the others would still give you a decent enough cake, but you'd be disappointed if it was a Jamaican ginger cake you were after.