Fresh Ginger Cake

Not so long ago Guy Fawkes Night was our big event at this time of year, but today Halloween has increasingly come to mark the onset of winter. The celebrations seemed to centre around a pagan practice of baking special cakes using treacle, honey and spices, leading to the tradition of baking of gingerbreads and parkin. Festivities abound such as Cake Night, Caking Day and Mischief Night.

So why not try out this recipe for your Halloween or Guy Fawkes celebrations this year. Unusually, freshly grated root ginger is used rather than the ground version. This cake is soft and moist.

Ingredients - makes a 9” square cake

15oz plain flour 4oz soft dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt 2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon grated root ginger 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest 8fl oz black treacle
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 4oz unsalted butter
Pinch ground cloves 7fl oz hot water
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar  


  1. Grease and line a 9 inch (23cm) square cake tin.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and cloves into a bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.
  4. Beat in the treacle, followed by the eggs.
  5. Gradually beat in the flour mixture and hot water alternately. Mix well.
  6. Stir in the grated fresh ginger and orange zest.
  7. Pour into the lined tin and sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the top.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and cook for 1hr 15mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

If you want to use a food processor to make this cake:

  1. Using the chopping blade, put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into the bowl and give it a quick whizz.
  2. Put the treacle, butter and hot water into a saucepan and place on a very low heat.
  3. Stirring continuously heat until the butter is dissolved and the mixture is blended.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs, ginger and orange zest.
  5. With the processor running pour the liquid through the feeder tube and blend until all ingredients are well mixed.