Ginger Loaf Cake with Lemon Drizzle Icing

Sometime last year, Mat and I somehow managed to end up talking about ginger cake – or at least ginger cake was mentioned. This led to me saying ‘hmm, I’ve never had ginger cake’, and Mat saying how much he liked McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake.

This conversation led me to a ginger cake obsessed couple of weeks where I found myself trying every ginger cake recipe known to man (OK, more than  slight exaggeration there!). But, seriously, not at all limited to Delia’s, Nigella’s, Jamie Oliver’s, Good Housekeeping,  even Levi Roots’ traditional Jamaican recipe!

I liked none of them.

After racking my brains as to what I was doing wrong, I finally concluded. Not all these recipes can be bad,maybe  I just don’t like ginger cake. Simple.

I gave in, and went and bought a McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake.

Nope, hated it.

I guess it just took me so long to realise this as it’s so inconceivable, the idea that I would not like a kind of CAKE?! But I just accepted this was the case and that was the end of my ginger cake obsessed adventures.

Then, this weekend just passed, Mat and I found out that his poor nan had fractured her back. We decided we must visit her on Sunday. I wrote a card and then thought ‘hey, I should make a cake’. I sent Mats mum a text and asked what her mum’s favourite cake was. ‘Ginger cake’.

I thought, OK that’s fine, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I can’t make a decent ginger cake and Mat seemed to like all the versions he tasted before I frustratedly threw them in the bin!

And so, I re-entered Ginger Cake adventures and this is what I ended up with. It is an adaptation of a combination of recipes I had previously tried (!). It follows a classic method, only I varied the flavourings, i.e no black treacle/molasses, no fresh or even preserved ginger and so on. I also, decided to combine two classics by pouring over a lemon drizzle into the skewered ginger loaf.  Please don’t let that put you off if you are a ‘fresh ginger in ginger cake fan or a there must be treacle in a ginger cake person’!

As I poured the batter into the loaf tin, I realised I had too much batter. So, I pulled out my small loaf tin and filled that up too before putting them into the oven to bake.

‘I”ll give it to someone’, I thought, or I thought Mat could feast on it. So out of the oven it came and I drizzled over the lemon icing and left it to cool. I then boxed up the large cake for Mats nan and left the little tiny loaf still sitting on its cooling rack.

‘Go on, just have a piece’, a voice was telling me in my head.

I ate the whole cake!

That’s it, I was transformed. It’s the black treacle and too strong ginger I don’t like – it must be – or maybe the addition of lemon? Either way, this is the only ginger cake I like!

This cake is so deliciously moist but not at all stodgy or heavy and firm enough to slice neatly and to transport. Despite the lack of chunks of ginger, which of course you can add if you want to, there is still a lovely ginger hit with this cake followed by the beautiful zing of the lemon. Perfect.

The added bonuses are that the entire batter can be made in just one bowl and is quick and easy and uses just store cupboard ingredients. PLUS the cake keeps really well and actually improves with time. It should keep for about 2 weeks, well wrapped and stored in a tin at room temperature.


  • 175 g soft vegan margarine
  • 75 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 175 g golden syrup
  • 200 ml non dairy milk
  • 2 egg replacers
  • 325 g self-raising flour
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 lemon
  • 120-150g caster sugar (depending on how runny you like your icing)


  1. Heat oven to Gas 2, 150°C, 300°F. Grease and line the base of a 2lb loaf tin plus a mini loaf tin or maybe 3 muffin holes.
  2. Melt margarine, both brown sugars and syrup in the microwave (or in a pan if you prefer) for 1 minute then 30 second blasts, mixing between each until the sugar has melted into the margarine and syrup.
  3. Add the milk and mix until smooth, then add the eggs, one at a time and mix in.
  4. Finally fold in the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda, pour into the prepared loaf tin(s).
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then cover with foil and bake further checking at ten minute intervals until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out with moist, sticky crumbs or clean but with no wet or sticky batter. You may find the cake is done just after the hour so do check it. (my small loaf was done in the first hour, for muffins I’d guess to check at 30 mins)
  6. Remove cake from the oven and leave for 5 minutes, then turn out of the baking tin and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  7. Make the icing – put the sugar into a bowl or jug and grate over the lemon zest followed by the juice of the lemon. Mix until combined then pierce the cake(s) all over with a skewer or cocktail stick then pour over the lemon drizzle over the cake on the wire rack.
  8. Allow the icing to just fall where it pleases, even over the sides.
  9. Leave the cake to cool completely before slicing and you will have a wonderful crisp sugar crust!

Why not try baking this cake in a different tin like a rose mould as I have done here and scatter with crushed gingernuts for a special occasion……


Nutrition based on 12 servings;

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 114 g
Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat

% Daily Value*
Total Fat

Saturated Fat



Total Carbohydrates

Dietary Fiber



Vitamin A 11% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 3% Iron 9%
Nutrition Grade B-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet
This entry was posted in Cakes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Ginger Loaf Cake with Lemon Drizzle Icing

  1. movita says:

    Sounds so yummy! I might have to move this up on my list of must-try recipes!

  2. Pingback: Moist Coffee Walnut Cake «

  3. Pingback: Cousin Jack – Ginger and Lemon Cake « Rue the Whirl

  4. Kath says:

    I had no end of trouble getting this cake to work; passed it on to my mother who is an experienced baker and she said there is far too much raising agent here. 1.5 teaspoons of bicarb is not necessary on top of self-raising flour.

    We got the cake to turn out beautifully with .5 teaspoons of bicarb and my mother says it could probably be skipped entirely.

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Kath, thank you for your message and I’m sorry you came to ‘no end of trouble’ with this recipe. What were the problems you encountered? I’m intrigued as the recipe worked beautifully for me! The bicarbonate of soda has a few qualities, not simply a raising agent – it creates a softer crumb to allow for a less dense, heavy cake and also lowers the temperature of sugar caramelisation giving a warm caramel note to the finished product. I’m glad it worked out for you in the end with your adjustments anyway. Poppy

      • Kath says:

        Oh wow thanks for responding 🙂

        I apologise if that sounded harsh at all, I had a frustrating day!

        The first cake I made turned out okay, not too sticky, not too crumbly, the only problem was really cosmetic; It rose very quickly very early and sank in the middle towards the end.

        I repeated it because I wasn’t sure if it was just my technique, and the effect was even more pronounced. The cake came up like a tower in the oven, overflowed the sides, and then collapsed.

        My mum suggested the bicarb may be at fault (she also said she could taste it in the finished cakes), and when we omitted it the cake rose normally and came out great 🙂

        I am interested that you say it affects caramelisation because one thing that was different about the final cake was it was lighter in colour than the earlier attempts.

        Thankyou for it by the way, I persevered with it because I couldn’t find another ginger cake recipe without black treacle in!

      • Poppy says:

        Hi Kath,

        It is very strange that you had the sinking issue with the recipe, as you will see from my pictures that I didn’t have this problem. It’s interesting that you say your second try was worse, which just goes to show that no two cakes turn out the same!

        I’m sure you know that baking is very scientific and the slightest thing can disturb a recipe – exact baking tin measurements, accuracy of scales and proper teaspoon measurements. The most common issue is oven temperature which is often inaccurate (I use an oven thermometer), even the slightest degree difference can affect the cake. In this case, the oven too low can cause a cake to rise and fall during baking, as can opening the oven door and over mixing the batter.

        It is odd as it was perfect for me every time I have made it. However, what’s important is that you have found it works for you without the bicarb so you still got to enjoy it in the end. I am going to try the recipe, omitting the bicarb altogether as you did and also have a friend try it in her oven to see how it turns out.

        Best wishes.


  5. Julie says:

    I’ve just had exactly the same problem, way to much mixture left over and then it rose over the sides of my loaf tin and spilled. In the future I think I will simply halve the quantities, seems to me it would be adequate for one loaf tin. It is still baking though and looks and smells delicious so far!

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Julie, thanks for your message. It does say in the post that the recipe gives enough batter for a 2lb loaf tin and muffin tins or a smaller loaf also. It is way too much for a single tin so I am not surprised it overflowed on you. Hope it still tasted good though. Thanks for visiting. Poppy

  6. Pingback: Baking for Street Children | Bunny Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s