Gingergirl: ‘A ginger treat like mother use to make’

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Hello and welcome to all about food. This week I say let them eat cake! Enjoy. Every. Mouthful.

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week I say let them eat cake! Enjoy. Every. Mouthful.

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl

I have fond memories of my mother serving a slice of cake with tea - usually a ginger cake or fruit cake. I would like to start this tradition again and would really like a good quality recipe to get things going! Can you help me please!

Many thanks,

Michelle, Newport

Hello Michelle,

I know I am going to sound like someone from the 1950’s but I have to say, I would love to see every home with a cake tin complete with a freshly baked cake that is replenished every week – well, I did warn you! Of course we are of a different time and life has changed so much but if the opportunity does arrive I do highly recommend that you seize the moment and get baking!

As I have mentioned before, I have a deep love for cake, by cake I mean plain, simple cake – no dollops of cream, no mounds of icing – I prefer a moist, elegant, cut-and-come-again-cake like those championed by my mother and my mother’s mother – lemon pound cake, madeira cake, orange and poppyseed cake and, a personal favourite, sticky ginger cake…

Dark and sticky 
ginger cake

250g of butter

250g dark brown muscovado sugar

250g black treacle

300ml of milk

2 medium eggs

100g of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped

375g plain flour

2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon of allspice

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

Butter and line a 23cm square baking tin. Heat your oven to 160Oc or 140Oc for fan oven. Put the butter, sugar and treacle into a saucepan and heat gently for about five minutes until the butter and sugar have melted. Stir in the milk, allow to cool so that the mix is just warm to the touch, then beat in the eggs.

Mix the chopped ginger and dry ingredients together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the melted mix into the well, then gradually draw the dry ingredients into the wet with a wooden spoon, until you have a thick, smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for one hour until risen and firm to the touch.

Do not give into the temptation of having a peek at the cake as it bakes; the cake will sink if the oven temperature drops too quickly before it’s cooked through.

Poke a skewer into the centre to check that it’s cooked - it should come out clean. If not, give it ten minutes more and check again. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Once completely cool, turn out of the tin, wrap well in cling film and keep in a cool, dry place for up to a week… if it lasts that long.

Fancy some frosting?

If you do want a little extra sweetness simply sift five tablespoons of icing sugar into a bowl and add three tablespoons of the stem ginger syrup. Beat well until you have a smooth, runny icing.

Once the cake has cooled, drizzle with icing and cut into squares. If you’re planning to let the cake mature for a while, make the icing on the day you want to cut it.

Contact Gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

Letters to ‘gingergirl’ c/o The Limerick Leader, 54 O’Connell St. Limerick.

You can follow gingergirl’s on Twitter – under gingergirlfood or on Facebook – under ‘gingergirl’.

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