Anytime Jamaican Lemon & Ginger Loaf

There is nothing more delicious then a fresh slice of this loaf with a wedge of beautiful Cheddar or a spoonful of warm Crème Anglaise.  Traditionally, my family used to have a very basic version of it at Easter, but I suppose there is no reason to restrict yourself to special occasions.  The warm, spicy cinnamon and nutmeg aroma filling the house, reminds me of my childhood, back home in London.

Prep Time: 40 Mins

Cook time: 60 Mins

Serves: 10


LOAF                                                                                    SYRUP

70g dates, chopped                                                          ½ cup brown sugar
100ml Ginger ale                                                              150ml water
275ml Guinness                                                                2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp Soy Sauce                                                              Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
¾ cup brown sugar                                                            50 ml fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp molasses
¼ cup runny honey
1 tbsp apricot jam
30g butter
3 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup dried apricots – chopped
½ cup nuts, roughly –  chopped


Preheat oven to 170c.

Grease and line a 24cm loaf tin.

Soak your dates in the ginger ale for at least 30 minutes.  Combine Guiness, soya sauce, sugar, molasses, honey, jam and butter with your dates and ginger ale in a saucepan.  Stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the jam and butter melted.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool at room temperature.  Into a large bowl sift all the dried ingredients and add your dried fruit and nuts.  Add the cooled ginger ale mixture.  Mix well and pour into the greased tin.  Cook for 1 hour or until a probe comes out clean.

While your cake is baking, make the syrup. Place the sugar, water, ginger and lemon zest in a small saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and you have a syrupy consistency.  Remove from the heat, strain through a sieve and add the lemon juice.  Set aside and keep warm.

When your loaf is ready,  remove from the oven, take a skewer and poke holes along the top and sides then while still hot, drizzle with the syrup.  Allow the loaf to sit for 5 – 10 minutes to soak up all the syrup juices before removing from the tin.

While the loaf is still warm, cut a slice, slather with butter and furnish with a slab of cheddar or for a decadent dessert, drizzle with warm citrusy crème anglaise.