Gluten free dark Jamaican Gingerbread and the bird

Children are a veritable wealth of knowledge.

Kid 1: Did you know that years ago, that angry tennis man John McEnroe flipped the bird at the queen?

Me: Are you sure?

Kid 1: Yes, and the Queen flipped the bird back at him.

Me: Now I know that part didn’t happen.

Kid 1: It did, it did. The Queen flipped the bird.

Me: She did not!

And so it went, did, didn’t, did, didn’t. It turns out he had seen an advertisement for a television ‘mockumentary’ on tennis and at the time, believed it to be a true historical fact.

I for one, imagine that during her illustrious reign, Her Royal Highness must have wanted to flip the bird at least once. (Gesticulating in this manner has certainly crossed my mind once or twice when arguing with Kid 1). This spot of baking hails from the iconic British baker, Delia Smith. This no-nonsense doyenne of English cookery is accredited for teaching two generations of loyal British fans how to cook. Her recipes are reliable and are also easily converted into gluten free options.

In her cookbook Delia’s Cakes, she tells us that this cake was ‘originally from the sugar-and-spice island of Jamaica.’ Darkly treacly, spicy, sticky and chewy. This is almost like a real loaf of bread. It is truly better when wrapped and left for a day and even better (like so many things), when smeared with butter.

Now I just know that Delia would never flip anyone the bird.


180g gf plain flour (130g plain gf flour and 50g sorghum)
1 tbl ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (1/4 nutmeg, grated)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbl milk
75g black treacle or molasses
75g golden syrup
75g dark brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)
75g butter
75ml water
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Getting Ready: Preheat the oven to 170C and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper. Delia suggests using a ready made loaf tin liner (which I did not have.) Place the tin of treacle or molasses and golden syrup bottle in hot water to warm them and make it easier to measure them.
Sift the flours and spices into a large bowl.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda into the milk and set it to one side.
Measure the treacle/molasses, golden syrup, sugar and butter into a saucepan with 75ml of water. Heat over a low heat and stir gently until thoroughly melted and blended. Don’t let it come anywhere near the boil and don’t go off and leave it.
Next add the syrup mixture to the flour and spices, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon.
When the mixture is smooth, beat the egg in a little at a time, followed by the bicarbonate of soda and milk.
Now pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on a lower shelf, align the the tin with the centre of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour until it’s well-risen and firm to the touch.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out.
If possible, store it in a cake tin in the liner (if you used one) or wrapped in clingfilm for 24 hours before eating. It is delicious smeared with butter.

A Cheergerm adaptation from Delia’s Cakes published by Hodder and Stoughton 2013

30 thoughts on “Gluten free dark Jamaican Gingerbread and the bird

  1. You have me salivating Cheery!! My English Granny used to make a recipe very similar to this. I haven’t made it since giving up the gluten, some how I didn’t think it would translate, but I love it, deliciously moist still after a week and yes definitely, smeared with butter!! Time to tell Kis 1 you can’t belive everything to see or read in the media!

    • Thanks Mrs R! It was a big hit. It has never lasted longer than two days in our house, I haven’t tested if it stays as moist as a non gluten laden version. Yes, we are trying to bring them up be be critical viewers of media, I had to investigate after this discussion just to make sure the Queen didn’t articulate rudely back at John M. (Although I am sure he would have deserved it …ha…)

  2. A perfect winter bread for tea. I remember reading “Alice” and wondering what treacle was, then finally looking it up. And in one of my stories, my alter ego Laura reports that she drank an entire can of golden syrup (Lyle’s) and didn’t get sick πŸ™‚ The byproducts of sugar refinement seem to hold a dark fascination for me, which means that I must make this bread!!
    As always I envy your family, getting to scarf down all these luscious treats.

  3. I am in love with Delia Smith–and mostly the pictures of her recipes. Drool-worthy, indeed.
    I’m tucking this recipe away for one month from now. The first of September always ushers in the transitioning to autumn and I do think this gingerbread should be celebrated appropriately.
    So, Delia may never have flipped anyone the bird, but she’d certainly flip over your bread!

    • I like to think that she would approve of this rendition of her recipe and not be tempted to flip me the bird instead. Save it for your gorgous autumnal days. Hopefully you get a bit more summer first Mrs P.

  4. OMG yum..Ginger bread has never looked so appetizing.. πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ Very well done you. Please do come and say hello too on my blog sonetimes.Would love to connect and share my passion for cooking as well with you..πŸ’—

  5. troppodon

    He has been watching those silly promos for some fictional week long tennis matchҀ¦

    Donald Alexander,LLB (Otago), MA -Communication-Organisational Communication (Charles Sturt), Senior Lecturer, Public Relations and Organisational Communication, Postgraduate Course Coordinator, School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst
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    • Yes, that’s we found out. I do love the idea of royalty finally getting fed up and flipping the bird. I think Prince Philip walks that fine line constantly…he he…

  6. A.PROMPTreply

    By the time I actually get to make all the things on my list from your blog I will have enough to publish my own cookbook! This looks divine for teatime…..can’t wait

    • Thanks Mrs Italian. It’s a good wintery one indeed. I agree, it’s a crackup of an expression! As long as Kid 1 doesn’t gesticulate in such a manner, it’s all good. 😁

  7. Great recipe and tribute to Delia. Merry Berry is giving her some serious competition, but I still think Delia is brilliant for basic British goodies. As far as flipping the bird, Delia does own a football club (Norwich City), so I suspect she may have been tempted a time or two…

    • Thanks KW. Yes, M Berry is pretty great as well. I do remember some controversy regarding a speech made by Delia at a football game so you have a very good point there. Now, about her Majesty at polo…??

  8. The Queen flipping the bird?😨 Our good old Delia flipping the bird?😰 Not sure which would be worse.😱 Love how you almost believed the Queen to be a flipper – oh, that almost makes Her Royal Highness sound like a dolphin, me thinks.🐬 Bet you are only having us on though, never imagined such a Royal ‘male chicken’ upπŸ“ (figure out what I’m trying to politely say here!), you sly fox!🐺 Mind you, Prince Philip has just about insulted everyone, everywhere in his time so he may as well ‘go the whole hog’🐷 and try bird flipping!πŸ” We’re gonna have a menagerie here if we carry on with these animalistic sayings, plus you already have The Yak!πŸƒ
    As for your gingerbread …. yummydiddlyscrumptious, yet once more. No wonder it never lasts long enough to test how your gluten free version ages. Ask The Yak about our mother’s homemade gingersnaps, we were almost brought up on them. And see if he remembers mum making her own treacle toffee which was put into little paper bags for us to take to our uncle’s annual bonfire and fireworks party. Now that’d be a handy recipe for you to try Mrs Cheergerm, a treacle toffee so sticky no one eating it can speak back to you ….. peace at last??? 😜 xxoxx

    • Hiya! Ha, there really is a menagerie going on there! I am well confused…ha. Your mum baked those ginger snaps over here a few years ago and they were deeeee (wait for it) licious! Mmmm…I did try them a few times, I will have to see if I still have the recipe she gave me! I will ask The Yak about those toffees in a bag then I will make them and give them to everyone around me. Then I will have peace, sweet peace, if only for a short while. 😊 xx 😘

  9. Thanks Kabuto! One of my favourite cakes before I stopped eating gluten was a Jamaica ginger cake; this gluten free gingerbread cake is very similar in taste and texture with the bonus of small pieces of chopped .

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