Jamaican Gingerbread with Lemon Sparkle Icing

From Ainsley’s Food We Love, ITV.

Childhood memories of my late mum’s kitchen come flooding back when I think of this Jamaican gingerbread. It was simply the best and this recipe is based on one that was handed down from my granny. I’ve tweaked it a little over the years but essentially it’s the same family favourite. I like to jazz it up with a bit of sparkle for a special treat, but that’s entirely optional!


Grease a 20-cm square cake tin with butter and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

In a bowl mix together the boiling water, golden syrup and black treacle. Add the bicarbonate of soda, stir well and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the egg beating in as you go. Sift the spices, flour and salt into another bowl. Fold one-third of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, followed by one-third of the cooled syrup. Continue to add the dry ingredients and syrup alternately. Mix together until smooth then stir through the stem ginger. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in the tin, then wrap tightly in foil or cling film and keep for 24 hours before serving.

To make the lemon glaze icing, whisk together the lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and of a drizzle consistency. Add more sugar if the mixture is too runny, and a little more juice or a little water if too thick. Pour or drizzle over the gingerbread and scatter over some sparkles. Allow to set before cutting into squares.



  • For the Jamaican Gingerbread
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 175g black treacle
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g stem ginger, finely chopped
  • For the Lemon Icing
  • juice of 1 lemon, plus extra if needed
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra if needed
  • edible gold glitter stars, for decoration (optional)