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Delia Smith's Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing

Epilepsy Action Tea Break - Friday 21 October

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"In all my years of cooking, this is, quite simply, my favourite cake. It’s simple but absolute heaven. The spiciness of the ginger within the moist cake, coupled with the sharpness of the lemon icing, is such that it never fails to please all who eat it"

Makes 15 squares


  • 5 pieces preserved stem ginger in syrup, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger syrup (from jar of stem ginger in syrup)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 heaped teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 6oz/175g butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 6 oz/175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon molasses syrup
  • 8 oz/225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground almond
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the topping

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8oz/225g unrefined golden icing sugar
  • 2 extra pieces preserved stem ginger in syrup

You will need a non-stick cake tin measuring 6x10 inches, 1 inch deep, and some silicone paper (parchment) measuring 10x14 inches.


  • Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3/325F.
  • First prepare the cake tin by greasing lightly and lining it with the silicone paper: press it into the tin, folding the corners in to make it fit neatly – the paper should come up 1 inch above the edge.
  • To make the cake, take a large mixing bowl and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Next break the eggs into a jug and beat them with a fork until fluffy, then gradually beat them into the mixture, a little at a time, until all the egg is incorporated.
  • Next, fold in the ginger syrup and molasses; the best way to add the molasses is to lightly grease a tablespoon, then a take a tablespoon of molasses and just push it off the spoon with a rubber spatula into the mixture. Now sift the flour and ground ginger on to a plate, then gradually fold these in, about a tablespoon at a time. Next fold in the almonds, followed by the milk, and lastly the grated root ginger and pieces of stem ginger.
  • Now spread the cake mixture evenly in the cake tin, then bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is risen, springy and firm to touch in the centre. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack and make sure it is absolutely cold before you attempt to ice it.
  • For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with enough of the lemon juice to make a consistency of thick cream – you might not need all the lemon juice. Now spread the icing over the top of the cake, and don’t worry if it dribbles down the sides in places, as this looks quite attractive. Cut the remaining ginger into 15 chunks and place these in lines across the cake so that when you cut it you will have 15 squares, each with a piece of ginger in the centre. It’s absolutely heaven.
  • If you’d like one or two of these cakes tucked away for a rainy day, they freeze beautifully – simply defrost and put the icing on half an hour before serving.

Why has this recipe been donated to Epilepsy Action?

A cup of coffee and a piece of cake can make a real difference for people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Action’s network of coffee and chat groups can provide a life line to people who might be feeling isolated because of the condition. Coffee and chat groups give people affected by epilepsy an opportunity to come together and share their experiences.

Text ACT NOW to 70700 to donate £5, the cost of a cup of coffee and piece of cake, to Epilepsy Action. Together we can make sure no-one has to face epilepsy alone. Terms and conditions.

Want to hold your own Tea Break?

Each year in October, Epilepsy Action holds a fundraising event called Tea Break, asking people to pop the kettle on, make a brew, bake a cake and have a cuppa with us! The money raised goes towards helping everyone affected by epilepsy in the UK! 

Holding a Tea Break really is a piece of cake! Whether it’s a cup of tea and a cake in your kitchen or a tea party at your workplace, you can hold your Tea Break anywhere and invite anybody along to share the fun. In the past, we have had Tea Breaks registered all over the UK; from Cornwall to Scotland, in schools, homes and workplaces.  

If reading this recipe has inspired you to hold a Tea Break for Epilepsy Action, why not register for your free fundraising pack now and bake a difference?

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