This Gingerbread loaf cake is simple, classic home baking at its best. Gorgeously sticky and moist, it gets even better after a few days of baking – if you can resist it for that long!
This is the best gingerbread recipe I have ever made – I’m sure you’ll love it too! It’s easy to make and you don’t need an electric mixer.
I really do love a nice, sticky gingerbread loaf cake. There’s just something so comforting and old fashioned about it. And personally, I can’t think of any other bake that goes better with a cup of tea!
Treacle and golden syrup is the secret to making the best gingerbread – as well as a generous amount of ground ginger and some chopped crystallised ginger for an extra kick of flavour.
I go through so much treacle in the Winter months I’m actually considering buying it in bulk. As well as making gingerbread and sticky ginger parkin, I use it to make spiced ginger cookies, treacle scones and I swirl it through my morning porridge. I absolutely adore the stuff.
If you’re a fan of golden syrup (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) give my golden syrup cake recipe a try!
ingredient list for gingerbread loaf cake
keep scrolling to the bottom of the post for printable recipe card with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions. Please have a read of the recipe notes before attempting this recipe.
- Plain (all purpose) flour adds structure to the gingerbread.
- bicarbonate of soda will make the gingerbread rise.
- ground ginger and ground cinnamon – two of my favourite spices!
- lemon zest. This is optional, so if you don’t have a lemon to hand, don’t worry.
- soft butter or baking margarine, such as Stork
- black treacle and its lighter, sweeter cousin golden syrup are essential ingredients to give the gingerbread that sticky, moist texture and delicious flavour. Molasses can be substituted for treacle.
- soft dark brown sugar pairs perfectly with the treacle and adds even more moisture to this dense, sticky loaf.
- Whole or semi skimmed milk
- one large egg
- crystallised (candied) or stem ginger in syrup
ingredients for the optional icing
- Full fat cream cheese
- soft unsalted butter
- Icing sugar, sifted
- finely grated zest of one small orange
- vanilla extract is essential in cream cheese icing. For the very best flavour, use a proper extract, not essence.
for the lemon glaze icing
- Icing sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
You’ll need a 2lb (900g) deep loaf tin to make this recipe. You’ll also need:
- a small saucepan to melt the syrup, sugar and butter together
- a large mixing bowl
- a wooden spoon
- baking parchment or a loaf tin liner
How to make a gingerbread loaf cake
Step one: Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and ground cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl.
Step two: Rub in soft butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Step three: Stir in the grated zest of one lemon (if using), dark brown sugar and chopped crystallised ginger pieces.
Step four: In a small pan, warm the milk, treacle and golden syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before beating in the egg. Pour the treacle mixture over the dry ingredients, stirring well to mix.
Step five: Pour this mixture into a lined 900g (2lb) loaf tin – it will be very runny – and bake at 180C/160Fan/350F for around one hour, or until the gingerbread has risen well, springs back when lightly pressed in the middle and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake emerges clean.
let the gingerbread mature (if you can!)
The longer you leave the cake alone, the darker and stickier it gets! It’s well worth making in advance if you have the patience. Wrapped in baking paper and tin foil, it will be perfect in two or three days.
tips for making the best gingerbread loaf cake
- Make sure your butter is soft and your eggs are at room temperature before baking the gingerbread.
- If the gingerbread looks like it’s becoming too dark on top before it has fully baked, cover it with a piece of kitchen foil.
- You can leave the gingerbread plain if you wish by all means – I often do – but adding either the fresh, zingy lemon icing or the tangy orange cream cheese icing really takes this cake to a new level. You’ll find recipes for these in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- I love both options, so I tend to go for whatever takes my fancy at the time. If I choose the lemon icing, I like to decorate the top with chopped crystallised ginger pieces. Lemon and ginger complement each other perfectly!
- If you live in an area where golden syrup isn’t sold, you should be able to find it on Amazon.
- If you can’t find it, corn syrup would be the closest alternative but the flavour would not be as good. Golden syrup is definitely worth searching for – it has a unique flavour that’s not only wonderful for making cakes, the best flapjacks and slow cooker treacle sponge, it’s also delicious drizzled over a stack of fluffy pancakes and spread on a sweet scone.
how to store gingerbread
Gingerbread is a very moist, damp cake. It will last well in an airtight tin for up to one week. Wrapping the cake in baking parchment and a layer of foil will ensure it doesn’t dry out.
However, if you do find the last few slices are a little on the dry side, I suggest drowning it in custard or whipped cream!
does gingerbread need to be refrigerated?
No, there is no need to refrigerate gingerbread. It’s best kept in a cool, dry, dark place. However, if you’re decorating with the cream cheese icing then you’ll need to keep any leftover cake in the fridge.
To freeze, wrap the whole (or slices) of the completely cold gingerbread in double layers of cling film and tin foil or use freezer bags. Freeze for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature.
why is my gingerbread cake dry?
if the gingerbread cake is dry and crumbly, it has been in the oven for far too long. This cake contains quite a lot of liquid ingredients, so it would need to be in the oven for quite some time to dry it out!
gingerbread cake is raw in the middle
Unfortunately, this means it was removed from the oven before it had fully baked. Always use the skewer test to check if the cake is ready – if it emerges with raw batter, get the cake back in the oven and check after five minutes.
Once cooled, gingerbread cake should be sticky but light and not stodgy or “gummy” in the middle. This is also a sign that it was removed from the oven too early.
Why did my gingerbread loaf cake sink?
If there is a dip in the middle of your gingerbread, it’s very possible that too much bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) was added. Always make sure you use a level teaspoon (5g) of raising agent.
Using even just a little more bicarbonate of soda than a recipe calls for can cause a cake to sharply rise, then fall again, causing it to collapse in the middle.
Another reason could be the oven door was opened while the cake was baking, causing it to sink.
A good set of digital scales and a set of measuring spoons are vital for baking success.
looking for more ginger bakes?
If you loved this recipe, you might want to try:
want to see more classic loaf cake recipes?
If you enjoy making loaf cakes, check out my recipes for:
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I hope you loved it! Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment below and rate the recipe out of five by clicking on the stars in the recipe card. Thank you!
- 250g (1 cup+1/2 cup+1 tablespoon) plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 level teaspoon (5g) bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tablespoon (15g) ground ginger
- finely grated zest of one small lemon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) ground cinnamon
- 120g (4.5oz/1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) soft butter
- 110g (1/4cup + 1 tablespoon) treacle
- 110g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) golden syrup
- 110g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) dark muscavado sugar
- 250ml (1 cup + 2 teaspoons) milk
- 1 large room temperature egg, beaten
- 25g Crystallised or stem ginger, finely chopped
- FOR THE ORANGE CREAM CHEESE ICING
- 125g (1/2 cup + 1 tablesppon/4.5oz) full fat cream cheese
- 50g (3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons/1.75oz) very soft unsalted butter
- 275g (1 cup + 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) icing sugar, sifted
- Finely grated zest of one small orange
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- FOR THE LEMON GLAZE ICING
- 100g (1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons) icing sugar, sifted
- Juice of half a lemon (you might need the whole lemon, depending on how large or juicy the lemon is)
- Chopped crystallised ginger to decorate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.Grease and line a deep 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
- Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the lemon zest, sugar and chopped crystallised ginger.
- In a small pan over a low heat, melt the treacle, syrup and milk. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature before beating in the egg.
- Pour into the flour mixture, whisking thoroughly until no lumps remain and you have a smooth batter. Pour this batter into the lined tin and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let the gingerbread cool completely in the tin before removing.
- For the Lemon Icing: Sift the icing sugar into a medium sized bowl. Add enough lemon juice to make a thick but pourable icing. Pour over the cold cake and top with the remaining crystallised ginger, if using.
- For the orange cream cheese icing: Beat the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and vanilla extract together until creamy. Beat in the icing sugar until smooth, but don't overmix. Spread over the top of the cake.
Make sure your butter is soft and the egg is at room temperature before baking.
If you ice the gingerbread with the cream cheese icing, you'll need to store the cake in the fridge. The icing will be good for up to 2 days.
Even though I've provided cup measurements, I still recommend making this recipe with a set of digital scales and proper measuring spoons. Baking in cups, especially when measuring ingredients such as syrup, can be inaccurate and affect the outcome of the cake.
If you can bear it, try and resist cutting into the gingerbread for two or three days. The flavours will deepen and the gingerbread will be extra moist and sticky. Wrap in a piece of baking parchment and a layer of tin foil, then store in a cake tin in a cool, dark place.
If stored correctly, gingerbread will keep for up to one week. It can also be frozen for up to three months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g
Calories and nutritional information are provided by a third party application and should be viewed as indicative figures only.