Colman Andrews

Author - Editor

"Gingerbread—not the dense confection often shaped into “men” or frosting-trimmed little houses, but rather a moist, sweet cake—has been popular in Ireland since the seventeenth century. There were even specialty gingerbread shops in Armagh in the late 1800s."

–Colman Andrews


  • 1/2 cup butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup black treacle or molasses
  • 1/4 cup preserved (candied) ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Whipped cream or powdered sugar for serving


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8 x 9-inch square baking pan with butter, then line the bottom with waxed or parchment paper. Set the pan aside.

Put the butter, sugar, syrup, and treacle into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. (Do not boil.) Stir in the preserved ginger and sultanas. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the egg and the milk until they are well combined.

Sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, working from the middle to the sides of the bowl, until the ingredients are well combined. Add a little more warm milk if necessary to absorb all the flour.

Spoon into the baking pan and smooth out the top with the back of a large spoon. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until cooked through and slightly risen. Allow to cool slightly, or cool to room temperature before cutting.

To serve, cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or powdered sugar.


10 to 12 servings