Jamaican Ginger Cake Recipe with Spiced Cream Cheese Icing

Birthdays and cake go together like strawberries and cream, rum and raisin or peanut butter and jelly, right? Of course! So naturally, when a friend’s birthday was rolling around, I had to ask if he would like a cake making for him, and what kind. His request was fairly swift: “your Jamaican ginger cake recipe pretty please!”

Now, I love a bit of ginger cake. My go to for years was McVities ginger cake, served with a generous helping of custard. Especially on a cold winter’s evening, it’s just the most comfort food sort of dessert you could wish for, don’t you think?

Making a Jamaican Ginger Cake

But here was my dilemma: to turn it into something worthy of a birthday? As much as I love loaf cakes, they just don’t look the part of a special occasions cake to me. So I got my creative hat on and decided it would be complemented best with a cream cheese frosting and gingery decorations to make it ultra special.

The results? They were honestly pretty spectacular!!

A gingery cake, intensely full of flavour but still wonderfully moist and tender, filled and covered with a lightly spiced cream cheese frosting. Delicious already (I know you’re drooling!), but then wrapped in a crown of homemade brandy snap shards… I really wanted to make another one just so we could keep one for ourselves!

Of course it goes without saying, the cake was rather well received. He and his beautiful wife enthusiastically sighed over and admired the cake for being “a work of art” (his words, not mine!), as well as totally hitting the spot with all the flavours and spiciness. I’m counting that as a win all round.

Happy birthday Mr G. Hope your Jamaican ginger cake was as awesome as I’m sure your birthday was. And thank you for allowing me the privilege of making it for you 🙂


Jamaican Ginger Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Icing and Brandy Snap Crown

Recipe by movers and bakers
4.7 from 7 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Intermediate


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





Spicy ginger cake complete with crown – couldn’t be more special a cake!

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  • For the cake
  • 250 g (1 cups + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

  • 200 g (1 cup) dark muscavado sugar

  • 115 g (¼ cup + 2 tbsp) golden syrup

  • 115 g (¼ cup + 1 tbsp) black treacle

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 250 g (1 cups + ½ cup + 1 tbsp) self-raising flour

  • 4 tbsp ground ginger

  • 3 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp nutmeg

  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tbsp) buttermilk

  • For the spiced cream cheese frosting
  • 170 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

  • 170 g (¾ cup) full fat cream cheese

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger

  • 0.25 tsp nutmeg

  • 340 g – 400g (2 cups + ¼ cup – 2 cups + ¾ cup) icing sugar, sifted

  • Extras for decorating
  • Brandy snap shards

  • Ginger biscuits, crushed


  • Preheat your oven to 170C/340F. Grease and line two 8″ cake tins and set aside.
  • Beat butter until soft and creamy. Add in sugar, syrup and treacle (see notes below), and beat for 4-5 minutes until thoroughly combined and creamy, and turned a pale coffee colour.
  • Break in your eggs and vanilla and mix again. Don’t worry if it looks a bit curdled at this point, just mix as well as you can. It will all be fine in the end!
  • Sift in the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarb and combine thoroughly, scraping your bowl down if you need to. With your mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the buttermilk to combine completely. Turn your mixer up to high for a final 30 seconds or so, to thoroughly mix your batter.
  • Split your mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes until shrinking away slightly from the sides and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  • To make the icing, beat the butter until soft, then add in the cream cheese and sift in spices, mixing to combine. Gradually add in enough icing sugar to form an icing consistency (see note below). Give your icing one final beat for 30 seconds or so on high make fluffy and smooth.
  • Place a blob of icing on your cake plate/stand, then put your first layer of cake on, pressing down to make sure it sticks. Spread some icing over the cake, then sandwich the second layer on top, bottom side up (see note). Cover the entire cake in a thin layer of icing then pop it in the fridge for 30-45 minutes to firm up.
  • Once your crumb coat has set, spread a generous layer of icing all over your cake again, then smooth it out, starting with the sides and finishing with the top of the cake. Press brandy snap shards all around the side of the cake, sprinkle some ginger biscuits on the top of the cake, and enjoy!


  • Make sure to add your treacle last so that it doesn’t touch your mixing bowl, or it won’t completely incorporate and will stick to your bowl instead.
  • When making the icing, add 340g and mix to start before deciding if you need more. Gradually add in more icing sugar until you achieve the consistency you want.
  • I always put the last/top layer of my cake on with the bottom of the cake on top. This gives a smooth, flat top of your cake, so it looks really good!
  • Doing a crumb coat of icing means you won’t have cake crumbs starring in the outside layer of your icing. Makes for a much tidier look to the outside of your cake!

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One Comment

  1. I was touched that Andrea made this cake for me! It’s rich spicy flavour was such a novel change. Also, as we were in lockdown, we didn’t have to share it with anyone else!

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