Two squares of sticky gingerbread cake dusted with icing sugar

This sticky gingerbread is both light and delicate, and dark and dense and deeply satisfying at the same time.

It is not too sweet, and flavoured with spices – ground cinnamon and ginger – which add warmth, but the dominating flavour is treacle (or black-strap molasses). As treacle is a staple of once-a-year baking, associated as it is with Christmas, everyone has a tin lurking at the back of the cupboard. This makes best use of it!

As a cake it is one of the easiest, being an “all-in-one” in which the butter, sugar and treacle are melted in a saucepan, milk and beaten eggs are added, followed by the dry mix.

The alkalinity of the bicarbonate reacts with the acidity in the milk and treacle to give great rise.

It makes a lovely winter pudding served warm with custard or cream or can, of course, be eaten at anytime with a big mug of tea.

It keeps really well, in fact it improves with keeping (if you can). I sometimes spread a thin slice with salted butter, or make a caramel sauce to pour over but it could equally be topped with a buttercream or cream cheese icing.

This version is from my Leiths Cookery Bible and in my textbook I wrote ‘delicious’ next to this one (and the scaled up quantities to make endless trays). I was right!

You will need a roasting tin 20x30cm similar to this one, lined with baking parchment or generously greased with butter.


225g unsalted butter

225g soft light brown sugar

225g Lyle’s treacle molasses

290ml milk

2 eggs, broken into a jug and whisked

340g plain flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger (you can add more)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

2 tsp baking soda


Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas mark 2.

Weigh out the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and give it a good stir to combine.

In a saucepan combine the butter, sugar and treacle and allow to melt, stirring so that the sugar dissolves. When the mixture is combined, take it off the heat and stir in the milk. This will cool down the mix. Next stir in the whisked eggs.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet mix in two stages, mixing well.

Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-45 minutes. Keep an eye on it but don’t open the oven too soon or the cake will sink in the middle!

Why not also have a look at my banana and chocolate chip scone recipe.

© Linda Galloway 2021

the iconic Lyle's black treacle tin