Iced Stem Ginger Cake

I love ginger and this is one of my absolute favourite cakes alongside Grasmere Gingerbread (which is more of a cross between a cake and a biscuit) and Catherine’s Sticky Ginger Cake (which is dark and delicious).  This cake is wonderful in the run up to spring with its tangy lemon icing topping a soft spiced sponge studded with amber jewels of exotic stem ginger.  A piece of this cake – especially with a cup of tea – is guaranteed to make life seem better and fill you with thoughts of bright spring days to come.  I always think of a jug filled with daffodils and an old fashioned teapot sitting beside a plate of these on the kitchen table!

You can freeze this cake un-iced (if you can resist it) and defrost and ice it when you want it   Very useful if you are planning an Easter Tea for example  Just don’t let me know that you have one in your freezer or I will be inviting myself round in hope of a piece!

This cake is based on a recipe by Delia Smith who lives in a neighbouring village   I can’t claim to know her personally but our family have cause to have great fondness and respect for her   One snowy and blustery winters day about 10 years ago when our goddaughter Chloe was driving in her first (and rather ancient) car she broke down on a sharp bend in a country lane   She rung us worried about being in a dangerous place and unable to push it to safety.  Uncle Mike left in his car to go and help and got there within a couple of minutes   He had just parked up just behind her with hazard lights on and was preparing to push her to a safer place in the rather icy conditions when Delia drew alongside in her car and very kindly offered to help   I don’t think either of them have ever forgotten it   A small kindness but it made their day (certainly Uncle Mikes who dined out on that story for weeks!)

Anyway enjoy this cake and let me know what you think!

Ingredients (makes 12 -20 pieces)

  • 175g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1tbsp black treacle
  • 2tbsp stem ginger syrup from jar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2tbsp milk
  • 5 pieces stem ginger, chopped finely

For the icing

  • 225g icing sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 pieces stem ginger

A piece of ginger cake goes well with a cup of tea


  1. Heat oven to 160 c
  2. Line a 23cm x 23cm square tin or equivalent with baking parchment
  3. Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  4. Gradually add beaten egg until combined
  5. Beat in black treacle and ginger syrup (don’t worry if cake curdles at this point)
  6. Fold in flour, ground ginger, ground almonds (if using)
  7. Add enough milk to make a soft dropping consistency before folding in the chopped stem ginger
  8. Smooth mix into the lined tin and place in middle of oven to bake for approx 40 mins until cake is cooked through and springy in centre
  9. Allow to cool in tin for 10 mins before turning out and cooling completely
  10. To ice cake, sieve icing sugar and mix with enough lemon juice and the zest so icing is the consistency of thick cream.  Pour and spread over cooled cake allowing some to dribble down the sides.
  11. Cut the remaining 2 pieces of ginger into 12-20, depending on what size you intend to make the pieces, and place on top of cake so when you divide it each piece has its own ginger “jewel” on top.



  1. This does look absolutely perfect to go with a hot cup of tea. I’ve never done lemon and ginger together, but it sounds lovely. And– love the story of the rescue and meeting with Delia Smith! Glad Chloe and everyone came out OK! And–one more little thing– love your China–so classic and beautiful! hugs hugs Rosie!

    • Lickthespoon says:

      You are lovely! I do love China I must admit. I have onegrannys dinner service with umpteen tureen sand China ladles etc that comes out on special occasions and the others extremely delicate tea service. I nose about in junk/antique/charity shops for platters and teacups and jugs. Lol. I’ve run out of cupboards to put them in but I won’t part with them 🤫. There’s no hope for me

      • This made me laugh Rosie– because I have the same difficulty! I think it great fun to snoopy through thrift shops for pretty plates– but my cupboards would do better with less dishes, not more! So I understand your dilemma– and enjoy your beautiful China!! xox

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