Rich and temptingly warming gluten free Dark and Sticky Jamaican Ginger Cake. Think McVities but WAY better… Free from gluten, nuts and rice. Optional dairy free.
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Jamaican Ginger Cake – a gluten free McVities Copycat
Remember McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake? Sticky, dark, rich and temptingly warming? Well this is my gluten free ‘copycat’. Except this recipe is better. It’s home-made and free from gluten… And that means not only is it the real deal, but we can eat it.
I know many of us Coeliacs have a gluten free ‘wish list’. Well… Jamaican Ginger Cake was definitely in my top ten gluten free ‘wants’. Despite lengthy searches however, finding a ‘free from’ commercially-available variant proved elusive… Which meant an absolute need for recipe development.
And because I hate the thought of anyone else being deprived, I’m sharing this perfectly-flavoured, stickily gorgeous, great British classic with you too.
Is it easy to make gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake?
Oh yes! I’ve made this gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake as simple as possible. This recipe requires no skill whatsoever. Easy as pie? No… 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 part is leaving it in the oven for an hour, whilst the spiced aroma wafts through the air around you and your stomach rumbles uncontrollably.
What is this ginger cake ‘free from’?
Being a Gluten Free Alchemist recipe, it goes without saying that this Jamaican Ginger Cake recipe is gluten free. But it is also made to be free from nuts and rice. The recipe uses my GFA rice-free blend B, meaning that the batter is not only beautifully smooth (no ‘ricey’ grit or dryness here…), but is free from any latent arsenic risk.
The recipe can be adapted to be dairy free too. All that is needed is a straight substitution of the butter for a good like-for-like dairy free alternative.
Not my first Jamaican Ginger Cake recipe
This is not my only 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… Deep and sticky and very like the old glutenous McVities sponge I remember. But some recipes just need to be taken one step further, not only for best textural and flavour improvement, but to make them even more accessible to my free from friends.
The previous gluten free recipe contained ground almonds and used light brown sugar. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with either of these ingredients. But in the spirit of progress I decided to create a Jamaican ginger cake that was darker, more gingery, nut free, rice free and optional dairy free.
It was worth the effort… Jamaican Ginger Cake mark 2 has the perfect texture… Not over fluffy or over-dense… It has the characteristic back-kick of cinnamon-infused ginger which warms the palate and gives a big internal winter hug… It is expectantly sticky on the teeth and sat side by side with its wheaty cousins, it competes with ease. Actually (in my humble opinion) it 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.
Using Jamaican Ginger Cake in other recipes
Gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake makes the perfect tea time treat all on its own. However, at GFHQ, we like to play with our cakes and push them into other recipes as well.
As mentioned above, Jamaican ginger cake forms an amazing base for a Christmas stuffing. Although originally a Nigella Lawson recipe, I adapted it for a friend some time ago and we now have a gluten free version of Nigella’s sweet Gingerbread Stuffing on Gluten Free Alchemist.
As with all sponges in our house, ginger cake is no stranger to trifle either. And for quality assurance (of course), I made sure to check this particular Jamaican Ginger Cake’s trifle versatility with a re-run of my Winter Ginger and Pear Trifle. It’s a trifle that will seriously WOW at dinner parties… And I can confirm that having tested it scrupulously, it is unbelievably good.
Key Equipment needed for this loaf cake
- Loaf Tins – Either 1 x two pound or 2 x one pound
- Good quality Baking Parchment. I swear by Lakeland’s amazing non-stick paper.
- Kitchen Scales – Make sure you have a good versatile set that measures both large and micro-quantities for all your gluten free bakes.
- Mixing bowls
- Large non-stick saucepan
- A firm wooden/silicone spoon or spatula
- Wire Rack – I love my versatile, sturdy Lakeland folding 3-tier rack, because it’s so easy to store and holds loads!
Will YOU try my gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake?
Don’t take my word for it however. Give Jamaican Ginger Cake a try at home.
If or when you do… Please let me know how you get on. Leave a comment below and leave a recipe rating. Even better… Take a quick photo and tag me on social media (links at the top of the page) so that I can swoon over your efforts and be proud of both our success. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #glutenfreealchemist.
Other fabulous ginger recipes that might tempt you…
Dark & Sticky Jamaican Ginger Cake – gluten free
- 1 x two pound or 2 x one pound loaf tins
- good quality non-stick baking paper
- large saucepan
- 260 g plain gluten free flour I use GFA rice free blend B – See NOTES
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp GF baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tbsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 110 g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative cubed
- 110 g soft dark brown sugar
- 100 g golden syrup
- 100 g black treacle molasses
- 160 ml/g water If using a rice-based flour blend, a little more may be needed. But only add extra at the end when you know the consistency of the batter.
- 1 large egg Lightly beaten – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- Prepare you loaf tin(s) by fully lining with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/ Gas 3.
- 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. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- Set these dry ingredients aside in a large mixing bowl.
- 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, the sugar has dissolved and all ingredients are well blended into a smooth liquid. DO NOT BOIL.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Add the liquid to the dry mix and beat with a wooden/silicone spoon until well blended.
- 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’ – a gloopy dropping consistency).
- Pour the mixture equally into the tin(s) and smooth the top(s).
- Bake immediately for approximately 35 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the size of tin) until the cake(s) are just firm to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the tins to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- For best texture, eat at least a day after baking to get the characteristic Jamaican Ginger Cake stickiness, although the cake is still delicious if eaten straight after baking.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Jamaican Ginger Cake shared with
- Cook Blog Share with The Peachicks Bakery
- Full Plate Thursday #509 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s For Dinner #289 with The Lazy Gastronome