Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Jamaican Ginger Cake - gluten free


We love ginger at GFHQ and with the rapidly cooling Autumn temperatures, it is the perfect time of year to use it. Miss GF has already put in her order for a batch of crisp, warming Christmas Ginger Biscuits and there are a couple of jars of Brown-Sugared Pear & Ginger Preserve maturing in the larder. I'm getting excited about plans for another Christmassy Gingerbread House, complete with glittery, snowy gardens and you can be sure I will be adding a good hit of the ginger stuff to this year's seasonal home-made Fruity Mincemeat. But this winter, we have a new addition to the GF ginger hall of fame....... Jamaican Ginger Cake.


The plan to develop this recipe came from a chance conversation with a work colleague, who was telling me that every year at Christmas, she gets demands to make a family favourite to go with Christmas dinner..... Nigella Lawson's Gingerbread Stuffing. I have never made it myself and was not aware of its existence until now, but it does look mighty good!

Unfortunately, my colleague's mother is unable to enjoy the annual gingerbread stuffing feast with the rest of the family as she happens to be gluten free..... But if I could possibly find my way to working out how to make a gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake (which is crucial to the stuffing recipe)..... then my colleague may just become the 'best daughter in the world'....


Regular followers of my blog will know that waving a gluten free culinary challenge in my face is something I simply cannot ever refuse, especially when it comes from someone I know.... and once a decision is made to try, I have to keep going until I have not only achieved, but achieved to a high standard. Expectations raised, the Jamaican Ginger Cake chase was on.

Most of us will know of Jamaican Ginger Cake from the packet version made by McVitie's. It was a childhood favourite..... the dark sponge and sticky texture was both unique and quite addictive to eat. Having done some internet research, I have been completely unable to find anything that tells me about its history. I can only assume that it originated in Jamaica, but it now seems to be popular in every part of the world. If anyone knows anything about where the story started, please let me know.....


Either way, having tweaked and tested this recipe a few times, I am really pleased with my gluten free result. The warming ginger kick, treacly stickiness and mysterious comforting darkness of the sponge is extremely close to my (albeit increasingly distant) memories of cakes past.... I am happy that my gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake is a pretty good comparison. It tastes fantastic on its own, with custard, with ice cream and even with butter (which is how I remember it best). I just hope it does its job with the stuffing...... which I now have every intention of trying.

Best of all..... Miss GF has been able to try another one of my childhood cake-memories! And just like her mother....... her favourite way to eat it is smothered in a layer of creamy, rich, natural butter.....


I am sharing my gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake with the following linkies :

Free From Fridays with Le Coin de Mel and the Free From Farmhouse.

Tea Time Treats with Lavender & Lovage, Travels for Taste and Jo's Kitchen. Jamaican Ginger Cake has to be one of the most warming comforting cakes there is, so is a perfect share for this month's theme : Comfort Food.


Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg.




Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum.






Inheritance Recipes with Coffee & Vanilla and Pebble Soup.

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.








Bake of the Week with Mummy Mishaps and Casa Costello










Other gluten free ginger recipes on the Gluten Free Alchemist blog :

Ginger Biscuits
Brown-Sugared Pear & Ginger Preserve
Gingerbread House
Banana, Apple, Walnut & Ginger Bread
Apricot, Ginger & White Chocolate Cookies
Double Chocolate Cupcakes with a hint of Ginger
Gingerbread Stars & People


Jamaican Ginger Cake - gluten free/optional dairy free (makes one 2 pound loaf)


Ingredients

240g plain gluten free flour blend (I used blend A from this post)
70g sorghum flour
40g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon GF baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 heaped tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
125g unsalted butter - cold and cubed (or dairy free alternative)
200g soft light brown sugar
120g black liquid treacle (molasses)
60g golden syrup
1 large egg - lightly beaten
170g boiling water

Method

  1. Completely line a 2 pound loaf tin with baking paper (base and sides).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
  3. Weigh and mix together the flours, almonds, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the brown sugar and stir through.
  6. Add the treacle, golden syrup and beaten egg and lightly mix into the flour.
  7. Add the boiling water and beat thoroughly with a silicone or wooden spoon until you have a smooth, sticky, well-blended batter.
  8. Spoon or pour the batter into the loaf tin and gently push into the corners and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 1 hour until well-risen and a skewer comes out clean. If you use smaller loaf tins, adjust the baking time to about 30 to 40 minutes).
  10. When baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.
  11. When cold, remove and store wrapped in clingfilm (you can leave the baking paper intact) until ready to eat. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

32 comments:

  1. That does sound good. Never tried it with butter but if it is around long enough to harden, always served with custard. Wonder if it would make steamed puddings?

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    1. Thank you Dc. It is lovely with butter...... a bit 'malty' in flavour against the butter. Definitely worth a try.
      Now steamed puds are something I haven't really tried yet..... This recipe might work steamed. May need to tweak the moisture levels slightly, but the flavour would be divine x

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  2. Love the sound of this. I remember those Mcvities packets all too well but haven't had it for years. Looking forward to hearing how the stuffing turns out. #CookBlogShare

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    1. Thanks Mandy. Planning to test the stuffing this weekend, so fingers crossed x

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  3. Oh WOW! I used to love THAT ginger cake. Cheap and cheerful it was often found in our kitchen. I am going to have to make this, but I will try it out with my flour and will let you know! Looks incredible xx

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    1. Yes..... THAT ginger cake..... Sadly this one (being GF) is not quite as cheap, but it is certainly gingery and delicious. Let me know how you get on! xx

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  4. Well done - I am sure many people will be thankful for this. I know the loaf you mean and I can't think of any other cake that is so good with a nice slab of butter spread over it. We have been testing gingerbread biscuits and planning gingerbread houses in our house but sadly I am not sure I will get to try a veg version of the gingerbread stuffing - which sounds intriguing.

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    1. Ah thanks Johanna. I think it was essential to have a GF version of Jamaican Ginger Cake in the repertoire. There is something about Autumn and Winter which just cries out for ginger warmth! x

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  5. I just bought some ginger and your cake looks really interesting, I have never prepared anything like this.
    Beautiful and fab for Christmas too.

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    1. Thanks Alida. Ginger is such a great Christmas spice. x

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  6. Ah that looks so good. I used to love sticky gingerbread!! My mum used to love it buttered too. Try some in the base of a trifle - It's amazing :)

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    1. Thanks Katie. It is that good that I have now made 4 in a week! I took one onto work today for a load of gluten eaters and it got high praise. Thanks for the tip on trifle...... why didn't I think of that.....? You are right. It must be divine! x

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    1. Thanks Bex. So sorry you didn't get to taste it this week. I am testing it on the stuffing this weekend, so all going to plan, I should be reporting back Monday! x

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  8. Oh, I love Jamaican ginger cake but I have only discovered it in UK, despite visiting Jamaica many times... It sooo delicious and sticky :) Thank you for sharing with Inheritance Recipes!

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    1. Isn't that strange Margot? You would think it could be found in Jamaica, but I had such difficulty finding out anything concrete about its history. Who knows....... maybe the Jamaica connection is a red herring! x

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  9. I love ginger cake but I've never made it. This looks sticky and sweet just like it should be! #freefromfridays

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    1. Thanks Emma. I reckon every baker should have a good ginger cake at their finger tips. This one was lovely! x

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  10. ooooh I adore ginger cake and this looks exactly like the shop bought version, that my mum would buy us sometimes to have as a pudding with custard! I bet it smelt just as amazing too. delicious.
    thank you for linking up to #BakeoftheWeek x

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    1. Thanks Jenny. I can vouch for this one tasting just as delicious with custard...... or cream..... or butter..... or just as it comes. I've tried it all ways! And yes..... it smelt divine, which has to be one of the absolute treats of home-baking!

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  11. It looks really nice, the texture is lovely. It's wonderful you made this recipe for your colleague and her mother.

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    1. Thanks Anca. I was really pleased with it and have also now tested how well it works in the stuffing too! Hope to post on the blog very soon xx

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  12. This sounds absolutely amazing! I love all things ginger, so looking forward to trying this :-)

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  13. This looks so yum! I've been missing Jamaica Ginger Cake all autumn!

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    1. Thank you. Miss it no more! This one is so easy to make xx

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  14. I regularly make a non GF one for husband person, from a recipe by a lovely Scottish lady who used to blog as mortgage free in three, her version has a magic ingredient that sounds odd, but really works. I need to make up a new batch of your flour blend A and will try your version next time.


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    1. Magic ingredient? I just had to look that one up..... was it the black pepper? Does sound very strange, but the most unexpected things work in baking for sure.
      I hope you like this bake as much Alison..... they loved it at my work and were still talking about it a week later! Let me know how you get on xx

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    2. Yes, it is the black pepper and it does work. OH still working through a surplus of non gf orange & polenta cake, it is non gf because I grabbed a packet of semolina out of the cupboard and weighed it out with the almonds by mistake!!!!!!! Decision time - try to rescue or not - so in order to try and improve the texture I added another half quantity of ingredients - this time using polenta LOL and baked a small loaf size and the round 8" too. It is edible, but better as pudding with cream I am told!. Ginger cake hopefully will be made next week. Laugh or cry? I decided that a giggle was the best solution.

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    3. Oh my goodness Alison.... that sounds like a bit of a disaster if you can't eat it. One of the advantages of having only GF ingredients in the larder I guess..... no glutenous surprises!
      Hopefully the ginger cake will be more successful x

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  15. Kate, how on earth do you not weight 20 stone with all the yummy treats you make week after week? Your Jamaican ginger cake looks absolutely amazing and I would kill for a slice with a cup of tea. Thanks for joining in with #FreeFromFridays again

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    1. Ha ha.... maybe I am Mel! This cake was definitely one that could take me there quicker..... better get out and do some running xx

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