The Best Ever Ginger Cake!

The best recipes have a good story behind them and this one is no exception.

Back in the day, when I was at High School, the canteen made a wonderfully moreish ginger cake – my friends and I all went mad for it (well we were only 12!) I must have been interested in baking even then and tried no end to prise the recipe from the Dinner Ladies – to no avail. Why it was such a closely guarded secret I’ll never know.
Over the years I have tried and tested any ginger cake recipe I could get my hands on to recreate the loveliness I remember from school most turned out far too dense and not at all what I was looking for.

Until one day, my Son started High School and came home with tales of a fabulous ginger cake – and he’s a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to cake – it had to be the same one! Hurrah – but how to get my hands on the recipe????

A ten pound bribe to Son in question set him into action and he came up with the goods – Ginger Comfort – and it’s here to share with you. SShhhhhhh….Don’t tell the Dinner Ladies!


500g Plain Flour

180g Butter

225g Golden Syrup

225g Treacle

1½ tsp Baking Powder

1 ½ tsp Ground Ginger

1 ½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

180g Caster Sugar

¾ tsp Salt

400ml Boiling Water
300g Icing Sugar
90ml Water
Preheat oven to 190c/180c Fan/375F/Gas Mark 5.
Grease a deep tin, I use a roasting tin approx 25 x 35cm.

Put all ingredients with the exception of the Golden Syrup, Black Treacle and Water into a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer if using.
Weigh out both the Syrup and Treacle into your scales and add to the mix.

Pour the Boiling water into your scales pan and allow it to soften the syrup and treacle that will have been left behind. Then pour it into the mix. That way you will get all the lovely syrupy treacly magic.

Mix together using an electric mixer going slowly at first as it can be a bit splashy to begin with.

When fully combined pour straight into tin and bake in the oven for approx 30 mins.

How easy is that!
Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Mix an icing glaze, it should be nice and runny and spread across the top of the cake. Really it doesn’t need anything more complicated than this.

Makes 15 generous squares. You could scale down the recipe if you don’t want to bake quite so much but it keeps really well (as long as the gannets in your house don’t get to it!)

Ginger Comfort

Ruth Clemens BakerRuth Clemens, Baker Extrordinaire

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52 Responses to The Best Ever Ginger Cake!

  1. Anonymous says:

    oh i have been waiting for years for the best ginger cake recipe – kind of like you had! thank you for sharing – now off to bake!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! I, like you, have been looking for years for the recipe that hit the tastebuds just right! Many have been tried and this looks like it might just be the one for me! I look forward to testing it this weekend! I am glad I didn't have to go through as much trouble as you in getting it though!!! 🙂

    Congratulations Ruth on your success on the show! You are an inspiration!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can you come ad live with me and my family??!

  4. Louize says:

    well done ruth – had my fingers crossed for you last night

    love this site – going to try the lemon curd this weekend, wish me luck xx

  5. jeanne says:

    Well done Ruth, I thought you should have won!

    Jeanne x

  6. A Merlin Imp says:

    Well done you!

    Anything ginger wins me over – your ginger, mint and blackberry on TGBB sounded divine regardless of the "baker's assassin" – lol

    Keep baking and experimenting and deliver us into baking heaven!


  7. Max says:

    Thank you Ruth Looking forward to baking this. Loved you on the show wanted you to win Maxine x

  8. Diane says:

    Best Ever Ginger Cake? Absolutely! But I added chopped stem ginger and made it even better!! Don't think we will be able to test whether it keeps well though…….

  9. Andy says:

    I just made these into cupcakes- same recipe makes 24 mini cupcakes of deliciousness

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am definetly going to give this a go. The best ginger bread recipe so far is from a 1960's cook book, Sticky and delicious. Had a lovely Sunday afternoon made Millionare shortbread and date and walnut loafs for friend's fund raiser at work

  11. Tracy says:

    I used your receipe for this gorgeous gingerbread. It was an all round success with family and work mates polishing it off. I have passed on your website as they all wanted to know how to make it (I couldn't take credit !) Thank you and well done

  12. Anonymous says:

    I made this and it is GOOD!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Amazing cake – lovely to bake on a cold afternoon. I sprinkled some chopped crystalised ginger on top of the icing. My boyfriend is addicted – thank you Ruth!

    I too remember a delicious cake from my sixth form college days – it was a carrot cake with coconut in it (but definitely not pineapple which a lot of recipes seem to include). I wish I had that recipe!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have the same recipe! It is from my days doing cookery lessons at school(or Domestic Science as we had to call it) with the very scarey Mrs Robinson. I loved this cake so much that I kept the recipe sheet that she gave out some 30 years ago. I now use said sheet to make pudding for my 3 girls. They love it staight out of the oven with custard and then cold a few days later when it's gone sticky. What memories. Thanks Mrs Robinson – you terrified me but gave me a recipe for life!

  15. Ruth says:

    Brilliant! xx

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  17. Alison says:

    This looks fab. I wonder if you could freeze the cake before icing?

  18. Pingback: Tales of pigling bland

  19. Lucy says:

    I can’t see how many eggs are needed for this recipe. Help…I have all my bits weighed out and ready!!!

  20. Lucy says:

    Ooh – thanks for responding. I guess I just think a cake always involves eggs somewhere or other. I am off to get baking!!!

  21. Ellie says:

    I have just popped this into the oven, I’ve used a 23cm x 23cm tin though, hope it doesn’t overflow! I can imagine my dad is going to love this! Will let you know how it turns out, fingers crossed! X

    • Ellie says:

      Success, it passed the taste test for dad. I had to cook it for about 45-50 mins because i used a smaller cake tin but it rose beautifully. I’m going to be trying the peanut butter bars next! X

  22. Lance moxon says:

    Made this cake a couple of days ago and have to say it is superb.
    However I baked it in two separate tins, the second one was left in a Tupperware box for two days and improves greatly so if you have the time to plan it’s definitely worth making in advance.

  23. sarah says:

    can you make this in a round tin? if so what sort of size???

  24. Paula brooker says:

    Thank you so much for the best ever ginger cake recipe It went down a treat every body loved it ..It meant my friend could try it too as there are no eggs in it :O) she was made up x

  25. GerryBerry says:

    Thank you so much Ruth!!!! I personally love it!!!! THe kids love this too, didn’t expect them to!!

  26. Max says:

    So, I was a bit dubious about this recipe but I held my faith and followed it to a T. I am so glad I did, it is delicious!!! I made it in a square tin and it took a little longer to cook (40 mins). It ended up about 3 inches high, soft, light and sweet. I added some dried dates to the mixture, I didn’t measure them but it was a good couple handfuls, chopped up roughly and placed in the messy measuring tin that the syrup and treacle were in before adding the boiling water. Let them soften for a bit before adding to the rest if the mixture.

    Lovely! And thanks.

  27. Paul says:

    Great recipe. Lovely and moist and gets better if left a day or two in a container. Only criticism I have and most people who tried it was it was more like treacle cake instead of ginger cake. Think next time I’ll add 2tsps of ginger and a little less treacle.

  28. Emma says:

    Omg that looks lovely will have to russle that cake up for Christmas one thinks. Xx

  29. Alan says:

    How much water do you use, there is no quantity mentioned in the recipe
    Thanks A

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  31. Emma Hernon says:

    Ruth, did you ever come across kracholettes at school? They seem to be a Poynton school thing. I have searched for a recipe for ages and can only find a reference on Poynton school menus. They were sticky, glossy cornflake cakes. Haven’t found anything that comes close.
    Thanks, Emma

  32. Rebecca Heath says:

    I’m gutted if got no plain flour or I’d be baking this right now!!! Gutted!!!!!
    Can I make it with any other???

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  34. Maggie says:

    Jyst made this & it’s fab!! Thank you!! I split the mixture into 2 separate tins & the first one is a lot lighter in colour than the 2nd! Go figure!! (did mix it really well as wondered if it was treacle distribution!!) both taste fab tho… Will ice properly in morning…..

  35. Maria says:

    Not strong enough taste of ginger for me and I added another half teaspoon.

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  37. Louise says:

    I felt the same way about the school’s treacle rolly-polly – I used to skip dinner and have two puddings instead on those days. Never did find the recipe 🙁
    luckily the ginger sponge was one of my favourites too – they used to serve it with pink custard.

  38. Dawn says:

    made this afternoon,yummy but not enough ginger for me, boys loved it, eaten warm from the oven with custard.

  39. fariha says:

    fab cake!!!
    put 5 tsp ginger
    and 1 tsp sweet mixed spice

    thank you so much, have shared it with all my friend !!

  40. Maz4jak says:

    Thank you, just waiting for it to gluten free so substituted the flour for sweet sorghum flour and put in 1 tsp of xanthium gum…cant wait to try it

  41. michele ellis says:

    I would love to know what amounts for a 2ib loaf tin? X

  42. Arlyne Bischof says:

    Would you be so kind as to give me this recipe in cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons etc.?

    Many thanks,


  43. becca merchant says:

    this is gorgeous! I left out bicarbonate and baking powder as I used self raising flour. also halved ingredients and used square deep tin 9inch by 9inch. later I warmed a piece of cake in the microwave and poured custard on top. really sticky and delicious. thanks for a receipe for a very successful egg free cake!

  44. Alice Norton says:

    Iv just tried this recipe done everything it said , texture was good ,sweetness just right ,but the strong taste of the blacktreacle is too pungent i even added extra ginger to it cos i like ginger but hey that treacle overrides the taste, AND YES I USED THE correct amounts

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