Someone pouring sauce over a slice of gingerbread cake

Gingerbread cake with date syrup bourbon sauce

  • Makes 12 servings
  • Easy

A fiery gingerbread recipe, packed with sweet spices, fresh lime zest and rich black treacle. Serve warm with homemade date syrup bourbon sauce


Make this indulgent gingerbread cake, then check out our classic ginger cakeJamaican ginger cake, date and ginger loaf and more ginger cake recipes.

Recipe author Nik Sharma says: “I’m of the opinion that all gingerbread cakes must contain both ground ginger and a bit of crystallised ginger. The sauce gives this cake an extra edge of smooth richness and is inspired by one of the top 10 desserts I’ve ever eaten – the date cake with whiskey sauce at Gjelina restaurant in Los Angeles.”




  • unsalted butter 165g, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • ground ginger 1 tbsp
  • black peppercorns ground to make 1 tsp
  • ground cardamom 1 tsp
  • lime zest finely grated to make 1 tsp
  • plain flour 350g
  • bicarbonate of soda 1½ tsp
  • crystallised ginger 55g, chopped
  • caster sugar 50g
  • runny honey 85g
  • black treacle 320g
  • crème fraîche 120g
  • eggs 2 large, at room temperature


  • unsalted butter 2 tbsp
  • date syrup 240ml
  • double cream 240ml
  • honey bourbon or whiskey 2 tbsp


  • crème fraîche lightly sweetened with icing sugar
  • lime 1, zested


  • Step 1

    Butter a 23cm square baking tin and line with baking paper, then butter the baking paper, too.

  • Step 2

    For the cake, melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the ginger, black pepper, cardamom and lime zest. Leave to steep for 10 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Sift the flour, bicarb and ½ tsp of salt through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Reserve 2 tbsp of the flour mixture in a small bowl, add the crystallized ginger to it, then toss to coat well. Set aside.

  • Step 4

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Put the sugar, honey and treacle in the bowl of a stand mixer. Scrape out the melted ginger butter from the pan with a silicone spatula and add it to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix on a medium speed for 4-5 minutes or until it turns a toffee-brown colour (you could use an electric hand whisk instead, if you like). Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl, add the crème fraîche, then mix on a low speed for 1 minute or until combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl. Mix in 1 egg at a time on a medium speed until combined.

  • Step 5

    Add the sifted dry ingredients in one addition and mix on a low speed for 30 seconds or until combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the speed set to low, add 270ml of water that has been warmed to 70C in a slow, steady stream and mix until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.

  • Step 6

    Fold in the floured crystallised ginger and transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown on the surface and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. Run a knife along the edges of the tin to release the cake. Transfer to a serving plate.

  • Step 7

    To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan over a medium-high heat. Swirl the butter in the pan until the milk solids start to turn red. Whisk in the date syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk
    in the cream, followed by the bourbon and ¼ tsp of salt. Transfer to an airtight jar and chill until ready to use. You can make this sauce two days ahead of time.

  • Step 8

    To serve, cut the cake into 12 and serve with sweetened crème fraîche, a little lime zest and a generous drizzle of the date bourbon sauce.

This gingerbread cake with date syrup bourbon sauce is adapted from LA-based food writer Nik Sharma's book The Flavor Equation (£26, Chronicle Books).

Browser more of our best ginger bakes

Jamaican ginger and caramel cake

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 572
  • Fat 29.6g
  • Saturates 18.3g
  • Carbs 68.6g
  • Sugars 44.4g
  • Fibre 1.4g
  • Protein 5.6g
  • Salt 0.8g