Sticky Apple and Ginger Cake


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A cross between an easy gingerbread recipe and an apple tray bake, this apple and ginger cake is deliciously sticky. It’s one of those quick and easy one bowl cake recipes that the whole family will love. You can even make it as a simpler alternative to a Christmas cake!

sticky apple ginger cake bars on baking paper with apples and other ingredients in the background

This recipe started out with a simple but delicious spiced apple cake recipe sent to me by a work colleague. This of course is one of the many perks of being a food blogger – people sometimes want to share their yummiest recipes with you!

I was very happy because I once followed a Christmas cake recipe that contained apple, dried fruit and ginger. After I lost it, I searched online until my eyes ached, but I never found it.

I adapted my colleague’s apple cake recipe and came up with this similar but a bit stickier and more ginger-y cake.

Why you’ll love it

  • It’s a one bowl cake recipe. Very quick and easy to throw together! (Melt the wet ingredients together in a saucepan, and then briefly stir in the dry ingredients.)
  • It tastes something like a cross between gingerbread, a spiced apple cake, and a light fruit cake. It’s lighter and fluffier than gingerbread, but still moist, sticky, and ginger-y. In other words, delicious!
  • You can make it for your family any day of the year, or drizzle white chocolate over the top and make it your favourite easy Christmas cake recipe! It’s got a warming quality that’s perfect for handing around with cups of tea (or sneaky glasses of mulled wine at Christmas).
  • It’s a small batch recipe. There are pros and cons to this, of course. You may not have any cake leftovers to take into work, but you won’t be tempted to overindulge!

This ginger cake has got a warming quality that’s perfect for handing around with cups of tea (or sneaky glasses of mulled wine at Christmas)!

About the ingredients

Flour: Use self-raising flour. If you can’t get hold of this easily, just use plain flour with a teaspoon and a half of baking powder added. Don’t use self-rising flour instead. It isn’t the same!

Ginger: This cake contains both a teaspoon of ground ginger and some chopped candied ginger. You can either use crystallized ginger, or stem ginger in syrup – whichever you can find.

Butter: Melted! Yep, no creaming of butter and sugar necessary. Just melt it in a saucepan or bowl in the microwave with the syrup and sugar.

Brown sugar: For extra deep flavour and sticky-ness. Yum.

Golden syrup: Golden syrup is what you usually find in gingerbread and other traditional cakes and slices (try these gingerbread muffins or Anzac biscuits!). It’s very easy to find in the UK and Australia, but if you’re elsewhere and can’t find it easily, don’t worry – just use 1 part molasses to 3 parts corn syrup. Or even rice malt syrup or honey.

Dried fruit: Any type or a mixture works well.

Apple: Any type, grated. Rhubarb works well, too!

How to make this in just 4 easy steps

Step 1: Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, ground ginger) together.

Step 2: Melt the ‘wet’ ingredients (so butter, syrup, sugar) in a saucepan. Stir through the ‘dry’ ingredients plus stem ginger, apple and other dried fruit, plus a whisked egg.

Step 3: Pour into a small baking tin and bake for just 30 minutes.

Step 4: If you like, drizzle over a little white chocolate to make it look fancy!

Whole sticky apple ginger cake bars on baking paper with apples and other ingredients in the background
A close up of sticky apple ginger cake bars on baking paper with apples and other ingredients in the background

Try this recipe with rhubarb instead of apple. Sticky apple and rhubarb cake… Mmmm…

Expert tips and recipe FAQ

What’s a good substitute for golden syrup?

Don’t worry – if Golden Syrup is difficult to get hold of where you live, 1 part molasses to 3 parts dark corn syrup is a good alternative. Or just the corn syrup or even honey in a pinch.

Alternatively, you can find it in on Amazon (affiliate link).

What can I make with the leftover golden syrup?

Ever tried Australian Anzac biscuits? They’re made every year (or any time really!) to commemorate Anzac Day, the date of the Australian and New Zealand army’s first major military campaign during WWI. They’re quick and easy to make, and this recipe’s lower in sugar than average.

These gingerbread muffins with salted caramel icing also come highly recommended. They’re perfect for special occasions… and of course for Christmas!

How long will this cake keep and can I freeze it?

This ginger cake keeps pretty well in an airtight container – for about 4 to 5 days. Like most cakes, it also freezes exceptionally well. Simply wrap well and freeze in sealed containers for up to 3 months.

More easy snack cake recipes

More apple recipes



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sticky apple ginger cake bars on baking paper with ingredients in the background
5 from 11 votes

Sticky Apple and Ginger Cake

Deliciously sticky, fruity easy-to-make cake bars. They’re like a cross between gingerbread and fruit cake, and make a great easier alternative to Christmas cake.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ stick butter
  • ¼ cup soft brown sugar
  • ¼ cup golden syrup, (dark corn syrup in USA)
  • 1.5 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped (either in syrup or crystallized is fine)
  • ½ cup dried fruit, e.g. prunes, apricots, cranberries, raisins (chopped)
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 egg, whisked

topping (optional)

  • 2 ounces white chocolate


  • Pre-heat oven to 200C / 390F and line a 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with baking paper.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger together in a medium bowl.
  • Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together in a saucepan. Add to the flour together with the stem ginger, dried fruit, apple and egg. Stir it all together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden. Cover with foil half way through cooking to prevent over-browning.
  • Optional: Melt the white chocolate in a jug in the microwave (in 30-second spurts – I find 3 times does it), then drizzle all over the cake.
  • When cool (and the chocolate – if you’ve used it – is set), slice into 8 bars.


How long it keeps: for 4 to 5 days in an airtight container. 
Using a different fruit to apple: Rhubarb works as a good substitute for apple. Let me know if you try this recipe with rhubarb!
Substitute for golden syrup: Dark corn syrup works as a decent substitute for golden syrup. Or use 1 part molasses to 3 parts corn syrup, or rice malt syrup, or even honey. Or you can buy golden syrup on Amazon (affiliate link).


Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 102mg, Potassium: 82mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 307IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve just made this recipe in 8 muffin sized portions instead of a big cake. I left out the dried fruit & upped the crystallised ginger a bit, plus added some mixed spice. I only had a Bramley apple & it’s lent a nice sharp-ish flavour to the sweetness. Also adapted the cooking temperature and time as I wanted to be sure the apple cooked (160C in my fan oven for 40 minutes). Oh wow! Absolutely delicious! I was a bit worried that there was a lot of apple to flour ratio but they have turned out beautifully & just the right size for a small dessert treat. I will try one with some cream or custard perhaps. Thank you so much for sharing, I will definitely be making this recipe again. XXX

    1. Hello Anne! Thank you so much for your lovely detailed feedback. I absolutely LOVE that you’ve already made this recipe your own. I also love your idea of turning them into muffin-sized treats. They are of course perfect for serving with custard. I’m so happy that this one is a keeper for you! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Why do people even buy cake? This was quick and easy and one of the best tasting gingerbreads I have ever eaten. Thank you for sharing this recipe

    1. Well, thank you too for taking the time to write a review! I agree that this is a pretty awesome cake – I’m so glad you enjoyed it too! 🙂

  3. Great result with this recipe! I wanted to make gluten free so followed the hints in the comments by Sandra. I didn’t have xanthan gum so added an extra egg instead. It turned out fine. One thing – the dried fruit (sultanas) sank to the bottom. Will definitely make again, thank you.

    1. Hello Jill! I’m so happy you enjoyed this cake! It’s super helpful to hear how it went making it gluten free. Interesting that you added an extra egg instead of xanthan gum! Not sure why the fruit sank to the bottom? But anyway, very happy. Thank you for the great feedback.

  4. 5 stars
    What a lovely cake. Wasn’t sure at first as usually don’t make cakes that just have the one egg and I wanted a deeper cake rather than tray bake style. I decided to make just as is and baked in a small 6″ deep round cake tin. So glad I did and swapped out wheat flour for 105g gluten free all purpose with 20g almond flour plus 1 tsp bp and barely quarter tsp xanthan gum. Added zest of 1 lemon with 1 tsp vanilla extract plus a few drops almond extract. One other addition was about 25g whole almonds chopped very roughly.
    So easy to mix up and a winner.
    I baked on 160 degrees fan and it took 1 and a quarter hours and covered with foil after about 45 mins.

    1. Hello Sandra! Thank you so much for taking a risk and trying the recipe! I really appreciate your detailed feedback and am very pleased that you enjoyed it. I really like your idea of adding almonds and lemon and will try that myself next time I make these. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Easy to bake and absolutely delicious. Made with apple and apricot. Would definitely make again…quite soon!

    1. Hi Val! Thank you so much for the lovely feedback. I’m very happy you think this cake is as yummy as I do! I love the sound of your apple and apricot version! 🙂