Monday, 4 March 2019

Dark & Sticky Jamaican Ginger Cake (gluten free, optional dairy free, nut free, rice free)

Remember McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake?... Sticky, dark, rich and temptingly warming? Well this is my gluten free copycat..... just like Mcvities, except it's home-made and it's free from gluten... which in my book, makes it better.

Perhaps I alone in having a 'god... I'm going to miss this' list from the moment I had to go gluten free? I doubt it... but either way, Jamaican Ginger Cake has to be on my top ten gluten free desired list.... yet search as I have, I've yet to find a 'free from' variant commercially available. Which means.... if you want it, you have to make it yourself.

So that's what I've done... and because I hate the thought of anyone else being deprived, I've decided to share.

Fortunately, I've made it as simple as possible for you and come up with a recipe that's as easy as pie. Actually, it's easier than pie. You literally mix your dry stuff, melt your wet stuff and beat it all together with an egg. Seriously, I kid you not... the most difficult bit is leaving it in the oven for an hour, whilst the spiced aroma wafts through the air around you and your stomach rumbles uncontrollably.

This is not my first foray into Jamaican Ginger Cake development. I created my first recipe back in 2016 after a work colleague needed a gluten free version to make Gingerbread Stuffing at Christmas. It was a great cake.... also deep and sticky and very like the old glutenous McVities sponge that I remember. But some recipes just need to be taken one step further.

My previous recipe contained ground almonds and used light brown sugar... Sure there's nothing wrong with almonds or light brown sugar, but on a whim, I decided that I wanted to develop a darker, more gingery, nut free, rice free, optional dairy free version, that would be more accessible for other food intolerances.

It was worth the effort.... I am truly proud of my Jamaican Ginger Cake Mark 2. It has the perfect texture... (not over airy or over-dense).... It has the characteristic back-kick of cinnamon-infused ginger which warms the palate and gives you a big internal winter hug... It is expectantly sticky on the teeth and sat side by side with its gluten-filled counterparts, it competes with ease and (in my humble opinion) would probably win hands down.

How do I know? Because it has been tested on friends, family and colleagues who have been spotted sneaking back for an extra slice or three and who (mostly still being gluten-eaters) have compared it more than favourably.

For quality assurance, I have made sure to check its trifle-making versatility with a re-run of my Winter Ginger and Pear Trifle (essential if you want to WOW at dinner parties) and I (and all my taste-testing guinea pigs) can confirm that it is unbelievably good.

But don't take my word for it... give it a try yourselves.
If you do, please let me know how you find it and even better... take a quick photo and tag me on social media so that I can swoon over your efforts and be proud of both our success.

I am sharing my gluten free Dark & Sticky Jamaican Ginger Cake with the following :


Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy
Baking Crumbs with Jo's Kitchen Larder and Apply to Face Blog
Love Cake with Jibber Jabber

Fiesta Friday #266 with Angie, Life Diet Health and The Not So Creative Cook
Bake of the Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps

Dark Jamaican Ginger Cake (makes 1x two pound or 2x one pound cakes)


260g plain gluten free flour (I used my GFA rice free blend which you can find here)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ tablespoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

110g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative - cubed
110g soft dark brown sugar
100g golden syrup
100g black treacle (molasses)
160ml water (if you use a rice-based flour blend you may need a little more, but add any extra at the end when you know the consistency of your batter)

1 large egg - lightly beaten


  1. Prepare you loaf tin(s) by fully lining with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/ Gas 3)
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt until fully blended and any lumps have been broken down (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside ready in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Put the butter, sugar, syrup, treacle and water into a large saucepan, and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the butter has completely melted and the sugar dissolved and all are well blended into a smooth liquid. DO NOT BOIL. 
  4. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Add the liquid to the dry mix and beat with a wooden/silicone spoon until well blended.
  6. Add the beaten egg about a third to half at a time and beat through with the spoon (the mixture should be smooth and reasonably 'loose' - gloopy dropping consistency).
  7. Pour the mixture equally into the tins and smooth the tops.
  8. Bake immediately for approximately 35 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size of tin) until the cake(s) are just firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. 
  10. Best eaten a day + after baking to get the characteristic Jamaican Ginger Cake stickiness, but equally delicious if eaten straight after baking.  
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-19 unless otherwise indicated


  1. I love that dark ginger cake - and I think a GF version is very important - who would want to be deprived of such soft sticky spicy heaven. It looks beautiful.

  2. I adore the look of this Jamaican Ginger Cake Kate, it looks sooooo scrummy, I have childhood memories of having this for pudding with custard, we didn't have much money growing up and mum cooked everything from scratch but this was a real treat bought from the shops! Now I think of the homemade version being the real treat, not a shop bought version!!

  3. I love your original version, I am looking forward to trying this new one, must add black treacle to the shopping list.

  4. What a loaf! My hubby goes nuts for proper ginger cakes, the stickier and denser the better and this one looks amazing. Thanks for sharing with #BakingCrumbs :) x

  5. Wow this looks absolutely perfect!

  6. Fabulous now you can really have your cake and eat it. Im going to share this with my sister who is a celiac as im sure she use to love ginger cake. Thank you for sharing on #CookBlogShare

  7. I thought, by first glance, it was a chocoloate bread or a pound cake.😅 But gosh, it still looks so good. I could use a ginger cake now! Thanks for sharing and for linking up to Fiesta Friday party! Have a lovely weekend, Kate!

  8. I'm always fascinated by gingerbread recipes. I have read a lot about just how fabulous gingerbread is, in several books, but have never tried making it at home myself. Your version looks so, so good! Absolutely love the recipe. If only I could get my hands on some treacle, I'd love to try this out.

  9. Oh this cake looks epic! It reminds me of the sort of cake that would get packed by someone's mum for a school/camping trip or sleepover - it was delicious back then, but I haven't had it in years - wish I could reach into my computer and sample a slice ;-) Eb x

  10. This is a dark stunner of a cake. What a triumph. I absolutely love it. Thankyou for sharing it with #BakingCrumbs

  11. The texture and colour of this cake are both absolutely perfect! I can't wait to try it! #BakingCrumbs

  12. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Kate. I took advantage of the vile weather yesterday and had a baking session, making this and Rebecca's malt loaf. My kitchen smelled amazing! This cake behaved beautifully and rose well. I managed to wait a day before cutting it and it has a lovely taste and a good texture. I suspect I may have overcooked mine slightly so I have the perfect excuse to make it again soon (well, I've still got black treacle to use up; can't let it go to waste!). Thank you. Helen


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