Orange Ginger Cake

Brendan's Orange Ginger CakeI like my ginger cake spicy, citrusy and gingery, so this recipe has evolved over the years to deliver all three flavours. Ginger cake was the afternoon tea cake of choice when I was growing up in Ireland and it still remains one of my favourites. The key is to add fresh ginger rather than ground ginger. Ground ginger loses a good deal of its potency and sometimes you will see in recipes, 4 – 8 teaspoons to compensate for this. For the citrus addition, I use good quality orange marmalade in the recipe, and then glaze it with strained marmalade. (see note)


(Serves up to 16 squares or 9 large ones)

  • 350g plain flour
  • 250g butter
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60 ml boiling water
  • 100g black treacle
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 175g moscovado sugar – dark or light
  • 120g of peeled and grated fresh ginger (use the cheese grater part)
  • 2 tbl of orange peel marmalade (thick cut or fine)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pot of good quality, orange marmalade, some of which is added to the mixture, and some that will be used for glazing the top.

Preheat fan oven to 160C/Gas 3. Line a 23cm/9” square cake tin with non-stick parchment. Or a similar size silicone cake pan.


  • Sift the flour, the spices together into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk and set aside.
  • Put the bicarb into a bowl and pour over boiling water and leave to fizz.
  • Grate the fresh ginger and set aside.
  • Put treacle, golden syrup, butter, sugar, and fresh ginger into a medium sized saucepan. Add the soda water and heat over medium heat to melt the butter. Mix thoroughly. Whisk the marmalade into the hot mixture and take off heat.
  • Now whisk in the eggs that have been beaten lightly.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Pour mixture into the prepared tin or cake pan. (If using a silicone pan, place it onto a baking tray.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 35 – 40 minutes. Check for doneness with a skewer. It should have a few crumbs but not sticky.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack.
  • While cake is cooling, heat ½ pot of marmalade with 1 dessertspoon of water. Once liquid, strain through a sieve to remove chopped peel. Brush top of cake with the syrup and apply the strips of peel if using. Allow top to set for about an hour.


  • You can finish the cake with some strips of orange peel, but this is optional. I make my own citrus peels and the recipe is on this site. Well worth it as the flavour is so much better than shop-bought, mixed peels. But you can use stem ginger in syrup cut into strips instead of the peel.
  • The cake improves with age and is best the next day. It will last for 7 days in an airtight container.

Tags: ,

2 Responses to “Orange Ginger Cake”

  1. Ruth H
    January 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    This looks like a gorgeous recipe but how much butter should I use, I can’t see it in the list of ingredients

    • brendan
      January 24, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      Hi Ruth. Apologies but the butter was not uploaded when recipe was typed. It is 250g/8ozs butter. thank you for bringing it to my attention. Best regards Brendan

Leave a Reply

nine + = 13