Chocolate Ginger Cake

Here’s a cake that bites back. It’s definitely hot stuff. How hot is up to you – there are options. But hot or not, it has a bold flavour and a terrific texture.

Makes: One medium loaf cake (about 10 – 12 slices)

Time: Prep: 30 – 35 mins; baking: 75 – 85 mins + cooling; decorating: 10 – 20 mins

Level: Fairly easy, but some care needed

Tins: A 900g (2lb) loaf tin


This can easily be made as a gluten free cake or not. If making two cakes at the same time, simply double all the ingredients.

  • 175g/6 oz plain flour (gluten-free)* e.g. Sainsbury’s “Freefrom” or Dove’s Farm   
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum powder* (if making GF) 
  • 30g/1 oz cocoa powder                    
  • pinch of salt                         
  • 10g/0.25oz ground ginger              
  • 15g/0.5oz ground cinnamon                       
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg                       
  • ½ tsp bicarb-soda                
  • 30ml/1 fl oz milk                             
  • 75g/ 2.5oz black treacle    
  • 75g/ 2.5oz  golden syrup   
  • 75g/ 2.5oz  dark brown soft sugar                      
  • 75g/ 2.5oz  butter or butter spread
  • 75ml/ 2.5 fl oz  tap water                         
  • 1 large egg, beaten                          
  • 2 – 3 pieces of stem ginger, chopped       
  • 50g/1.75oz dark chocolate chips

For the topping (decorating option 8a)

  • 2 Tbsp apricot jam + stem ginger syrup & water to glaze the cake
  • About 30g/1oz pieces of crystallised ginger, cut small, sugar dusted off                

For the Chilli & Ginger Ganache (decorating option 8b)

  • 50g/1.75oz dark chocolate
  • 50ml/1.75fl oz double cream
  • 20g/0.75 oz light brown soft sugar or demerara
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder**
  • 10 – 12 slices of stem ginger, with syrup wiped off

*If not making gluten free simply change the flour and omit the xanthan gum powder.

**Take care adding chilli, even this small amount gives a hot ganache. If unsure, leave out.


1. Prepare a loaf tin, either by greasing and lining with baking parchment or simply by inserting paper liner. Turn oven on to heat up to 170C/ Fan 150C/ 325F / Gas 3

2. Sift flour, xanthan gum powder, cocoa powder, salt and spices into a large bowl. Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, mix bicarb-soda with the milk and set aside.

4. Pour the treacle & golden syrup into a large saucepan. Add in the sugar & butter plus the water. Stir while heating to thoroughly mix & blend everything. Don’t let it boil.

5. Pour the syrup mixture into the flour and spices, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon. When the mixture is smooth, beat in the egg a little at a time, followed by the bicarb soda and milk. Stir in the chopped stem ginger pieces and the chocolate chips.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 75 – 85 minutes. Test with a skewer – it should come out clean. Leave in the oven for 5 minutes with the heat turned off and the door ajar.

7. Remove from the oven & leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Two decorating ideas

8a. Heat the jam and syrup in a small saucepan (add  1Tbsp water if necessary) then brush this over the cake before adding the pieces of crystallised ginger.

8b. Break the chocolate into a small heat proof bowl. Put the cream, sugar, powdered ginger and chilli powder (if using) in a small saucepan. Use a low heat to dissolve all the sugar then turn the heat up until mixture is hot but not boiling. Leave for a minute or two then pour over the chocolate. When the ganache has cooled to a suitable consistency spoon, pipe or brush it over the cake then add slices of stem ginger.