This traditional gingerbread traybake is the perfect winter warmer. Packed full of wintery spices, this cake is soft and fluffy and incredibly easy to whip up. Make with Golden Syrup and black treacle, this traybake is an essential Christmas dessert in our household. Take a look at my coeliac-friendly recipe below, for a deliciously moist cake that you wouldn’t believe is gluten free!
This cake is simple to make with readily available ingredients. The cake itself is made up of the usual butter, sugar, eggs and flour along with some Golden Syrup, black treacle and ground spices including cinnamon, lots of ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom, and some baking powder, baking soda and Xanthan Gum. Once the mixture is ready, it’s spooned into the baking tray, baked slowly at a lower temperature for a good half hour before it’s ready to come out of the oven. Best served warm with hot custard!
What equipment do you need for this cake?
Square or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper – I use a Pyrex magic baking tray which is nice and deep to ensure for a thick layer when baking
Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer
What ingredients do you need?
Brown Sugar – I used brown sugar for this recipe but a light or dark brown sugar would work just as well which adds to the sweetness of the cake
Eggs – Medium free range eggs are best. Eggs are needed to add structure to the cake and whisking them in one at a time helps to aerate the mixture, making the cake light and fluffy at the end. Room temperature eggs are best so that they can be incorporated into the batter more thoroughly
Butter – Unsalted butter at room temperature is used in this recipe to add moisture and to help the cake rise during the baking process
Gluten free flour – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Plain Flour or Schär Mix C for Cakes is perfect for this bread. I prefer a plain flour with no added baking powder or soda so that I can control the amount being added but a self-raising flour can be used too. The perfect blend for this cake is a flour blend that contains cornstarch, corn flour, lentil flour, tapioca starch and Xanthan Gum.
Golden syrup – Golden syrup is a typically British product, a sweet sugar syrup similar to corn syrup. If you can’t find it in your area, try using another sweet treacle like sugar beet syrup or molasses as an alternative. Golden Syrup is what makes this cake sticky and delicious
Black Treacle – For this recipe, I use a standard black treacle which adds to the rich flavours of the cake and makes it all lovely and sticky
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there are no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cake together and stopping it from crumbling into dry pieces
Baking soda – Any will do, just check that it is definitely gluten free. Baking soda acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake to rise during the baking process
Baking powder – Baking powder also acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Mixed ground spices – Ground spices are what add the intense flavour to this cake. A mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom mean this cake is packed full of Christmas flavour.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a cake recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cake
Milk – Milk adds extra moisture to the cake which is essential in gluten-free baking which can often risk being over dry. I tend to use a full-fat whole milk (3,5%) but a semi-skimmed (1,5%) milk or a dairy-free alternative such as almond milk will be perfectly fine to use too
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensure that they can all be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot, you don’t want to cook them!) water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature more quickly.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cake is done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested as a rough guide. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cake is baked through and ready to come out.
I use grams for weighing almost all of the ingredients in my recipes as it is what I am most used to when cooking and baking on a daily basis. I use measuring cups for simple ingredients such as spices or smaller amounts as it can be much easier to measure. I would recommend sticking to what the recipe suggests as there is no guarantee that converting into cup measurements or vice-versa will have the same outcome.
Sticky Gingerbread Traybake
- 300 g gluten-free plain flour blend
- 320 g brown sugar
- 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 small free-range eggs room temperature
- 250 ml whole milk
- 150 g Golden Syrup
- 40 g black treacle
- ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 160°C Fan and line and grease a square or rectangular baking tray.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in texture.320 g brown sugar, 170 g unsalted butter
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.3 small free-range eggs
- In a separate bowl, mix together the Golden Syrup and black treacle before mixing into the wet mixture.150 g Golden Syrup, 40 g black treacle
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, Xanthan Gum, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in alternate batches with the milk, finishing with a batch of the dry. Mix slowly and ensure that no pockets of flour remain.300 g gluten-free plain flour blend, 250 ml whole milk, ½ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 3 tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cloves, ⅛ tsp ground black pepper, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- Carefully transfer the mixture to the lined baking tray and level off with an offset spatula.
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Do not be tempted to open the oven door during the baking process as this may cause the cake to sink in the middle.
- Once baked, allow to cool slightly before dusting with a layer of icing sugar.icing sugar
- Best served warm with hot custard or cream.