For a long time, almost every relationship I had finished after about nine months. 
I think nine months is about as much time as you can spend together without realising that you have to make some pretty serious decisions. I thought I was fated to be the ‘I just don’t love you enough’ girl forever. 

Last night my boyfriend and I went out to dinner to celebrate our third anniversary. In lieu of anything better, we have fallen into the habit of celebrating the anniversary of the night that we first met. When we stood outside a bar in the rain, waiting for our friends to come out, and he snuck his hand into mine.

These three years seem to have passed in the blink of eye and yet it’s difficult to remember what life was like before them. 

We are not, by nature, a particularly romantic couple. Our text messages and emails mainly consist of discussions about what to have for dinner and what time we’re planning to leave our respective offices. Whenever we have pizza, he has to ask me again what my usual order is. We have a little chalkboard in our hallway and instead of writing love notes to each other, we write things like ‘you’re so stinky’ and ‘you look like a hippo’. That’s the kind of couple we are.

We celebrated with dinner. A fancy dinner that required a quick change in the office loos and red lipstick. We drank a cocktail made with pomegranate and ginger and champagne and ate foie gras and lobster (and I ate five desserts which probably accounts for why I feel quite so jaded this morning).
Sometimes, most often in the middle of the night, I am paralysed by regrets. By the bad choices that I made and the good choices that I didn’t. By all the stupid things that I’ve said and done. But I look at that tousled head next to me, deep in sleep and oblivious to the panicked thoughts that are racing around my head, and I realise that he doesn’t care about any of that. He loves me in spite of all the silly things I say and do (and maybe because of them). He loves more more than enough. 
I’m not going to lie, I think he loves me even more because of this blog and because he knows that most weekends will now involve at least one type of cake. We’ve been eating this cake a lot recently. 
This recipe is actually a re-do, with a few small tweaks, of one in the archives. In my first few posts, I sped through some of my favourite ever recipes and it feels a shame that they are languishing there, unloved. It’s a dark and sticky cake, rich with molasses and a hefty kick of ginger. It’s a real winter cake, spicy and warm. The changes I made shouldn’t come as much as a surprise to anyone – olive oil rather than butter, whole wheat rather than plain flour – but I also played around a little with the liquid sweetener. The original recipe calls for black treacle which I’ve used successfully before. This time I used a mixture of blackstrap molassess and a lighter molasses (the exact ratio depends on how much you like the taste of molasses; blackstrap molasses has a pretty robust flavour). My experiment using a proportion of pomegranate molasses was, sadly, not a success at all. 
Ginger cake
Yield: Makes 16 squares


  • 90m (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 120g (2/3 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 300g (approx 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) treacle/molasses (see note above)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g (1 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 60g (1/2 cup) ground almonds

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F (fan) and grease a 20cm square baking tin
  2. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, sugar, water and treacle over a medium heat until it starts boiling. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes, making sure to stir frequently so that it doesn’t catch.
  3. Put the mixture aside to cool and go and do something else for a while. It does take a surprisingly long time to reach a sensible temperature.
  4. When cool, beat in the ginger and then the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Fold the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground almonds into the mixture.
  6. Pour into the cake tins and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until a knife comes out clean and it feels firm to the touch.
  7. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

PS. On a completely unrelated note, I have (finally) set up a facebook page if you want to keep up with the blog there. I was one of the relatively early joiners to facebook but this whole page thing has got me completely confused. Of course, you can still find me on twitter, pinterest and instagram. I probably need to do something more productive with my time…

    45 Responses to "ginger cake"
    1. Kavey says:

      When we’re mock squabbling, we tend to resort to insults such as “poopy head”, “stinky poo” and other wonderfully childish abuse!

    2. Rachel Cooks says:

      Aww Happy Anniversary!

    3. Emma Gardner says:

      Happy Anniversary!

      I’m interested in the pomegranate substitution – how did it come out? What about it didn’t work?

    4. What a cute post!!! Happy Anniversary to you both :)

    5. Awww! Happy Anniversary!

      I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I adore your writing. I feel like I’m reading your journal that you write before bed and it hooks me in :) You’re so talented!


    6. Erin says:

      What a sweet post! Happy anniversary! :)

    7. Happy anniversary! And I love the notes you write to each other on the chalkboard – they sound far more fun than the average love note anyway. =) And this cake? As a ginger lover, this is totally my type of cake!

    8. Happy anniversary Kathryn! It’s so amazing when you meet someone who’s just so completely right, who loves you for all your faults and makes absolutely everything better.

      As for cake, it’s the ultimate way to a man’s heart and this one looks like a winner! I’ve been meaning to make ginger cake for ages…maybe this weekend…

    9. Aww happy anniversary to you both! My BF and I are a little mix of calling enough names and saying cute things. Which is good for me cause I’ve always been terrible at putting my feelings into romantic words.

    10. Such a beautiful post! Happy Anniversary!!! And the ginger cake looks delish!

    11. Happy anniversary. :) And even though I know this was not the point of this post at all, I feel like I need to say again what a wonderful writer you are. I hope those desserts were all delicious!

    12. Happy Anniversary!…you´ll celebrate it forever.
      Love from spain

    13. Art & Lemons says:

      Happy Anniversary! I think your love notes are incredibly sweet and romantic and this cake, no wonder you’re making it often…

    14. Megan Keno says:

      Happy Anniversary Kathryn!

      Ben and I must be quite similar to you and your hunny, we are not by definition that obnoxiously smarmy couple that just hangs on eachother or calls eachother “schmoopy pants” – *barf*. We’re much more sarcastic in our compliments, but I know that deep down he loves me and I love him. It’s wonderful to know that when you reach that point of not knowing what life was like before him. Too me, that is the moment that sealed the deal and I knew going forward I wasn’t going to be the same without him.
      All the best for many more years of happy moments and name calling ( in only the most loving ways.) ~Megan

    15. what a sweet post Kathryn. Happy Anniversary! Here’s to many more!

    16. Happy anniversary! Perhaps the reason that this relationship lasted more Han nine months, aside from love, is that you seem like good friends and have an honet relationship. I always enjoy reading your posts because you are funny, honest and matter of fact. There is no sugar coating and it is refreshing!

      The cake looks delicious, I have to put this in my files.

      Have a wondefful week, lizabeth

    17. What a lovely post! Happy anniversary. This cake sounds delicious. I’m a big fan of molasses and treacle. I tried to sell some molasses cookies at a cake sale on Sunday and they didn’t do so well. I think some people are wary of it without realising what a wonderfully rich flavour it brings, especially with ginger.

    18. Shanna says:

      “I’m not going to lie, I think he loves me even more because of this blog and because he knows that most weekends will now involve at least one type of cake. “

      Ha! That line is so perfect. : )

    19. What a sweet post. Happy anniversary :) I’ve never baked with molasses but I am curious!

    20. Happy anniversary and I am very glad I found your blog. You have such lovely recipes and tone. I also adoooore my ginger cake with molasses! I recently incorporated a bit of rye flour into mine (typical dutch) and also delicious!

      xx Paola

    21. Happy Anniversary! It’s true they love us for who we are :)

    22. catseatdogs says:

      Every time I get your posts via e mail, I want to bake!

    23. Happy Anniversary!! Ya’ll sound so romantic with love notes. Gotta nudge the husband to do that often ;)

      ps: there’s nothing better than indulging in chocolate or desserts, for that matter :D

    24. This is such a well-written post! Happy anniversary, friend! And I think Jason loves me because of my blog too – he knows that he’ll always get a homemade meal on the table!

      Oh and this cake – to die for! I may have to make these tonight. I’ve had a hankering for cake!

    25. Kathryn, your stories are so marvelous that, by the time I am done reading, I have totally forgotten about the amazing ginger cake that is awaiting me. Happy anniversary to you guys, it sounds like your love is beyond amazing!

    26. I loved everything about this post. The story-telling, the way it made me feel as if you and i were talking about our past loves over coffee and then the feeling of gratefulness we feel with our current loves. happy anniversary! this ginger cake is a perfect cake to celebrate with :)

    27. Happy Anniversary to you two! Bummer the pomegranate molasses didn’t work out, that sounded like such a good idea. I wonder if it would better applied to a whispery thin gingersnap cookie kind of situation?

    28. Jenny @ BAKE says:

      Happy Anniversary! Sounds like you had an incredible date. I love that first photo! Blogging is funny because you find so many great recipes that you don’t want to reblog regularly but then you make so much other cake that you don’t have the time to remake!

    29. Joanne says:

      I am almost POSITIVE my boyfriend loves me more because of the blog…and my ability to cook. BUt I’m also not sure that’s such a bad thing. :P I’m SO happy that YOU are so happy with your boyfriend…this is such a gorgeous post. ANd the cake – swoon. I’m all for ginger these days!

    30. Happy anniversary and happy memories of five desserts in one evening. I think boys tend to not worry as much as us ladies, rampant thoughts keeping us awake at night like you said. Or maybe it’s just their snoring. Either way, love is grand when its given in return.

    31. Ashley says:

      Such a sweet story and a delicious looking cake. I had to laugh about the thoughts racing in your head each night. Sometimes I want an on/off switch for my brain. Wouldn’t that be nice? ;) Congrats and have a great weekend!

    32. What a gorgeous post. You and your honey sound perfect together. Happy anniversary!!

      What a shame the pomegranate molasses didn’t work out. It sounded like a fabulous idea.

    33. Awww, I just love this! I love the kind of couple you two are. And I love how you wrote about it all :) Happy anniversary!
      Oh and I love the sound of this cake. I never thought about ginger much but just last week I caught myself thinking that I love ginger(when I caught a whiff of it in my spice drawer). I was thinking how I need to find more things to do with it :) Your cake looks lovely!

    34. I love this post. Also, I couldn’t stop laughing because you ate 5 desserts, only because I would love to order 5 desserts on my anniversary, but my husband would be mortified.

      This cake sounds delicious. I’m glad you pulled it out of the archives. :)

    35. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!! :) I love this post. Such a gorgeous gorgeous cake.

    36. Kasey says:

      Your dinner sounds like a dream, and you while we all have doubts about ourselves, it sounds like your man is in it for the long haul (and you clearly both know the way to each others’ hearts!)

    37. Sasha says:

      Happy anniversary! I love your story…
      And five desserts?! Kudos! My teeth hurt just thinking about that much sugar :)

      I will definitely be trying this recipe. I can never resist ginger flavored foods.

    38. haha! “You look like a hippo.” Sounds like you two have something really special. Happy anniversary!

    39. I thought I had left a comment here, but I cannot see it……but, I just wanted to say, I know JUST what you mean, and “you look like a hippo” is just the sort of thing Malcolm would day to me, and I to him…..great post! Karen

    40. Kristen says:

      A love over cake is a love to keep :)

    41. kale says:

      this is one of those truly memorable pieces of writing. honest, goofy, romantic (in spite of yourself)and relatable. many thanks for such a treat.

    42. Vickii says:

      I’ve just stumbled across your blog and it is wonderful!

      Happy third anniversary :)

      I love ginger and this ginger cake sounds incredible – thanks for the recipe :)

    43. Neel says:

      These will do a wonderful job feeding my cake addiction!!

    44. Happy anniversary! Happy that you’ve gotten over the 9-month-thing. :)

      And the changes you made to this cake are magical. Definitely going on the to-do list.

    45. emiglia says:

      I love this post… very sweet. Happy anniversary!

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