Brenda’s (gf) sticky gingerbread

Gluten free sticky gingerbread

Updated 6th October 2022

Oh, I do love a good recipe recommendation. So, when Brenda, my dad’s lovely neighbour, told me that her grandson had requested her sticky gingerbread cake when he next came to stay, my ears pricked up and I wanted to hear more about this recipe that had been so eagerly requested. 

After getting all the gingerbread recipe info from Brenda, I tested out a gluten free version for myself and was delighted with the result. This delicious soft gingerbread, with its shiny sticky top, is filled with all the fragrant warming ginger spice you’d typically expect from such a cake. But with the addition of dark muscovado sugar (my little twist on the original recipe), the treacle flavour seems to intensify, making it a perfect bake for a bonfire night gathering!  

I’ve affectionally named this recipe ‘Brenda’s sticky gingerbread’. However, the original recipe came from a cookbook which accompanied Brenda’s Hotpoint cooker many years ago. Freebie books like these often include fab recipes and are certainly worth keeping hold of.


225g (8oz) unsalted butter, cubed 
110g (4oz) light muscovado sugar 
110g (4oz) dark muscovado sugar (if you prefer a less intense flavour go with all light muscovado or soft light brown sugar – see recipe notes below)
225g (8oz) black treacle
350g (12oz) gluten free plain flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (no need to add if your flour already contains this or guar gum) 
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon *ground ginger
2 teaspoons *ground cinnamon 
Good pinch of sea salt (standard salt would be fine)
1 teaspoon *bicarbonate of soda
250ml (½ pint) warm milk (I used semi, but I’m sure full fat or skimmed would also work)

Ingredients for gluten free sticky ginger


Grease and line a 25cm (10 inch) square tin. I couldn’t lay my hands on the recommended size tin, so instead used this Pyrex dish which measures 11½ x 9 inches and all was good.

Greased and lined Pyrex dish

Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1/120C Fan.

Place the butter, sugar and treacle in a heavy bottomed pan and gently heat until the butter has melted and can be blended nicely with the other ingredients. Remove the pan from the heat and set to one side.

Melted butter, treacle and sugar in a pan

It’s a good time to heat the milk whilst the treacle mixture is melting. You want the milk warm, not piping hot. Set to one side once heated.

Sift the gluten free flour, xanthan gum ginger and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, add the salt and briefly whisk to blend all the ingredients together. 

Dry ingredients for sticky gingerbread

Add the beaten eggs to the melted treacle mixture and stir to combine.

Pour this into the bowl containing the gluten free flour etc and mix well with a large spoon. 

Ingredients for gluten free sticky gingerbread in a stainless steel bowl

Add the bicarbonate of soda to the warm milk and stir before pouring into the mixing bowl.

Ingredients for sticky gingerbread in a stainless steel bowl

Stir until everything is combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and transfer into the oven. 

Gluten free sticky gingerbread before being baked

Bake for approximately 1hr 10-15 mins until the gingerbread is well risen, and when a skewer is poked into the middle of the cake it comes out clean.

Gluten free sticky gingerbread

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before cutting into slices and spreading with a spot of butter if that’s your thing! 

Recipe notes and suggestions:

Store the gingerbread in an airtight container. It will keep well for up to five days (maybe even longer). You can also freeze it.

The original recipe suggests that you use soft brown sugar. So far, I’ve tested the recipe with light brown muscovado sugar (nice!), then with half dark and half light muscovado sugar (full on treacle flavours. Delicious!). For my third attempt (which I also filmed for my YouTube channel) I went with soft light brown sugar (lovely too!). I found no difference in texture with any of the sugars, but liked the richer more intense flavour that came from using half dark and light muscovado sugar. If you’re after a more subtle flavour, it would be best to use soft light brown sugar.

This gingerbread is delicious as it comes or sliced and spread with butter. It would also make a wonderful pudding, when gently warmed and served with *custard. 

You could use this recipe to make muffins instead. Should you fancy doing this, bake the muffins for about 20 minutes (dependant on size) until they’re nicely risen and feel firm but springy when you press the top. 

If ginger is your thing I recommend you check out this ginger sponge recipe. It’s one of my all-time favourite things to enjoy with custard!

For now,
Liz x

*Check this product to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out. 

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