Jamaican Ginger Cake (with fresh ginger and a-little-bit-a-rum)!

As you may have picked up (if you’ve been following this blog), I am passionate about food and there isn’t much (or indeed anything), that I don’t like if it’s cooked well. But some flavours get me really excited and ginger is one of them!  There’s something comforting and warming about ginger and this cake is perfect for this time of year when you need a pick me up.

We were lucky enough to visit Jamaica last year and certain dishes really stick out. Goat curry, proper fiery jerk chicken, lovely fresh snapper and of course ginger cake. One difference between the ginger cake you buy in this country is the fire you get from the ginger, the depth they pack in from really dark sugar (the treacle adds this here) and the hefty addition of dark rum!

Speaking of rum, I liked rum before our Jamaican trip but I really developed a taste for it during those two weeks. Appleton’s distillery was well worth a visit: seeing where they age the rum in oak barrels (the air heavy with warm, spicy rum) to develop the complexity of the taste and then tasting the various rums they make! Appleton’s is available in supermarkets in the UK and well worth the extra few pounds, especially if you are drinking it without mixers and want to enjoy a full, smooth complex taste (also makes a great old-fashioned)!

Jamaica river

I don’t have as much experience baking cakes as making savoury food, so this is based on a recipe (by Jamie Oliver). However, I wanted to make it closer to the cakes we had in Jamaica, so have replaced the preserved ginger with more fresh ginger, used dark rum instead of spiced, added some mixed spice and also baked as a round cake rather than a loaf.  I also lost the icing as they weren’t iced in Jamaica either and the cake is sweet enough! If you want to see Jamie’s recipe its from his ‘Comfort Food’ book (page 354): excellent book full of classic home recipes.



  • 20cm round cake tin
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 115g black treacle
  • 100ml brown rum
  • 125ml skimmed milk
  • Large piece of ginger (roughly x3 thumbs)
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg (large)


  1. Place the sugar, treacle, golden syrup, rum and milk in a saucepan. Slowly heat until the mixture comes together, then turn up the heat until it boils. Immediately take off the heat.
  2. Grate in all the fresh ginger.
  3. In a large bowl place the flour, bicarb, and dry spices. Mix in the butter with your hands until it has come together like fine crumbs.
  4. Grease and line the tin (20cm round) with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  5. The liquid mixture needs to be cool for the next bit (so it doesn’t scramble the egg).
  6. Poor the liquid mix into the dry mixture and crack the egg in.
  7. Mix together until smooth.
  8. Poor into the tin. Bake for about an hour. Check ten minutes before by putting a metal skewer or knife into the mixture- it should come out slightly covered in mixture. You want the cake to be sticky in the middle but not raw. Mine took exactly an hour.
  9. Allow to cool (can turn out after 10 mins or so).

This is great with a strong cup of coffee (Jamaican Blue Mountain if possible). 

Enjoy (and tell me what you think in the comments section).

5 thoughts on “Jamaican Ginger Cake (with fresh ginger and a-little-bit-a-rum)!

    1. Is that a serious question? …I suppose you could, although you might need to increase the liquid slightly. I think If you don’t like ginger then a ginger cake probably isn’t for you!


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