Golden Syrup Sponge Cake

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


This sticky dessert, sometimes called treacle sponge, is as at home in an English pub as it is at an elegant dinner, like the ones held at Formal Hall. It's traditionally baked or steamed in a pudding basin—an aluminum or earthenware bowl designed specifically for pudding—but any sturdy 3-cup ovenproof bowl will do.


  • 9 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 23 cup Lyle's golden syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 14 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 12 tsp. ground ginger
  • 13 cup milk
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 13 cup superfine sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs


Step 1

Heat oven to 400°. Grease a 3-cup aluminum pudding basin with 1 tbsp. of the butter; pour 2⁄3 cup of the syrup into the bottom. Set aside.

Step 2

Put a pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, using a sieve set over a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and ginger. Set aside.

Step 3

Whisk together milk and salt; set aside.

Step 4

Using a handheld mixer set to medium speed, cream together sugar, remaining 8 tbsp. of butter cut into small cubes, and the lemon zest in a large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add 1 of the eggs and beat for 15 seconds; repeat with remaining egg. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula; briefly beat batter until smooth and silky.

Step 5

Pour batter into prepared pudding basin and cover basin with a sheet of wax paper, followed by a sheet of foil. Press foil around edges to seal; tie kitchen twine around rim to secure. (We suggest using the paper and foil even if your basin comes with a lid, which won't trap moisture so well on its own.) Place an 8" x 8" baking dish on middle rack of oven, set basin in center, and pour in enough boiling water from the pot that it reaches halfway up sides of basin.

Step 6

Bake until cake is puffed slightly and set, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Carefully remove cake from the water; let rest for 5 minutes. Uncover cake and invert onto a serving dish. (Scrape out any bits stuck to inside of basin and spread on top of cake.) Drizzle more golden syrup over cake before serving.

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