Sticky Jamaican ginger cake

A few weeks ago you may remember I put out a call on my Facebook Page for a challenge ‘which of your favourite snacks would you like to see healthanized’.

First up was this turtle cheesecake. My first attempt at a vegan cheesecake…and a resounding success. So much so that I got in a bit of a cheesecake frenzy!

The second special request was a ginger cake. Not just any ginger cake but the sticky Jamaican Ginger cake you can buy here in the UK made by McVities…I used to eat this warm and smothered in custard. It was a good shout and so last weekend I set about creating my own version. Not just keen to be healthy, this version also wanted to be gluten free.


The texture of the sponge was spot on, helped further by the sticky glaze on the top.  I cut the oil and sugar content right down but you’d never know it. I like this best served slightly warm…it would also make a great accompaniment to this cashew custard. Make sure you don’t overcook the cake to retain its dense rich moistness. It will still be a great if cooked a little longer but the sponge will be a little dryer making it less true to the sticky Jamaican ginger cake concept.

I used this recipe as my initial source of inspiration, tweaking the ingredients and quantities in accordance with my gut instinct on ‘healthanizing’….i’m getting pretty good at that game now!

Do you have a favourite 'copycat' dessert?

Recipe: Sticky ginger cake

Makes 1 loaf (approx. 21cm tin)


350g wholemeal spelt* or GF flour* ( I used 200g buckwheat, 100g ground almonds and 50g tapioca flour)

1 tbs ground chia/flax

100g rap

adura/coconut sugar and 1/3 tsp stevia

1 heaped tbs ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 handful of dates or figs (approx. 1/3 cup)

50g melted coconut oil (or other mild oil)

50g apple puree

60g molasses

220ml boiling water

For glaze:

Approx. 5 dates

1-2 tbs mollasses

4 tbs boiling water

1 tbs agave

(note: if dates have been pre-soaked to make for easier blending reduce the water by 1-2 tbs)


Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Blend wet ingredients in food processor until very smooth. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until well mixed.

Spoon/pour mixture into a parchment lined medium loaf tin (or bundt tin if preferred) and smooth the top.

Bake in oven at 180C for approx. 25-30 mins until only just done (toothpick inserted will have a slight residue).

Whilst still hot in the loaf tin, prick holes in the top of the loaf with a toothpick. Blend the glaze ingredients to form a sticky paste and using a knife or pastry brush (I used a silicone pastry brush) generously coat the top surface.

Once partially cool, remove from the loaf tin and brush the sides with a little of the remaining glaze if desired.  Allow to cool fully before serving.

Note: the dense, moist and sticky texture of the loaf improves the next day.

* for further guidance on making gluten free choices please see this post.

For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.

jo hodsonComment