fresh ginger-lemon cake

Ginger-lemon cake
January seems to be the month people flip their internal switches from out-of-control, wild bingers of rich food and drink to wholesome souls sucking down juice meals, promising to spend each and every day at the gym sweating out their toxins.

Or so that’s what some major retailers want us to think, according to the huge display I saw at Whole Foods on January 2. It was a tower more than 15 feet high, precariously constructed out of crates of lemons, bottles of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and jugs of maple syrup; all the ingredients necessary for the Master of Cleanses.

lemon ginger sugar fresh ginger

Post-holiday detox probably isn’t a bad idea, considering the amount of wine corks that pile up around me, but I’ve never submitted to a juice fast, for 2 reasons:

1. I’m afraid I might perish from hunger and then get very, very cranky; which is what tends to happen when I don’t eat in regular 3 hour intervals.

2. I associate the word “cleanse” with “not clean”.  As in dirty. You can take it from there.

My approach is a little gentler and keeps the tremors at bay. I just stick to eating all the real, fresh food I usually do and drink lots of water. The sugars and alcohol get pushed back into careful moderation.

I believe moderation includes a slice of cake, and my very favorite kind of cake is plain and simple, one that I can toast for a snack with some really good apricot or raspberry jam.

This is the most basic of pound cakes,  hit with enough ginger and lemon to freshen your inner being. Way better than drinking juice, I think.

fresh ginger lemon cake

Fresh ginger-lemon cake

Serving Size: 10 - 12 servings


  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Heat oven to 325; butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 –inch loaf pan with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Put ¼ cup sugar in a pie dish or shallow bowl; add the lemon zest and ginger and massage the two together with your fingers. You can also use a small wooden spoon or a fork, but you will miss the aromatic therapy.
  3. Beat the 2 sticks butter in a heavy-duty standing mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the ginger-lemon sugar and beat for a few seconds before adding the remaining 1 cup sugar; beat 2 minutes, until lightened and fluffy.
  4. Lower the mixer speed and drizzle in the eggs and salt; beat on medium-high speed for 2 more minutes – the mixture might look curdled but don’t worry. Slow the mixer to stir, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half the flour; mix 15 seconds before adding the remaining flour. Mix just until there’s no more flour visible.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake 1 hour; insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the cake. If wet crumbs cling to the skewer, bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack 15 minutes before carefully loosening the sides with a knife. Turn the cake out onto the rack to cool completely.


  1. I adore lemon! The addition of fresh ginger is glorious, an irresistible dessert for the New Year.

  2. The texture of this cake looks so perfect! I’m actually kind of surprised that Wholefoods did that, given that the master cleanse, isn’t, you know, food, and that’s what they sell. Personally, I’m doing two to three weeks of whole-foods-based eating with as little sugar as possible before easing back into my normal eating habits… but I can’t wait for my first slice of cake when I’m done!

    • Thanks Katie! I checked out your lovely blog and your 3 week plan looks great. And yes, save room for a piece of cake when you’re back to square one. 🙂 Al the best.

  3. This cake has my name all over it. I often drink a cup of ginger tea made from grated fresh ginger and lemon juice in hot water. I swear it has magic health giving properties as I always feel so much better afterwards. And you’ve taken my magic tea and turned it into cake. How can I resist that?

  4. This looks wonderful! I was wondering, before I don my apron, is baking powder not necessary or is it an omission?

  5. For the past few years, I’ve halfheartedly searched the internet for the lemon cake that a neighbor made for me as a young teen. Today I got a wild hair and searched on Pinterest. I’m beyond excited to make this! The addition of the ginger sounds fantastic! Thank you!!

  6. I am making this cake right now….looks and smells great but I’ve cooked it at least 15 minutes longer than recommended and the skewer is still coming out with wet batter…..I have my fingers crossed. Has anyone else made this?

    • Lynne, Sorry to hear your cake took longer to bake than stated in the recipe. Oven temperatures can vary so much. I think your oven might be at a lower temperature than it’s set for – try testing with an oven thermometer and adjust the setting accordingly next time you bake.

    • Hi Lynne, I just made this and it turned out perfectly (I even used a hand mixer and I think I might of over mixed and it still was delicious). I cooked it for an hour and 3 minutes and that was enough for it to be done with the edges a golden brown. I think Karen may be right about your oven- with my old oven I had to cook things for about 15 minutes longer. This new oven, i find, is very accurate with recipes.

  7. Making the cake right now! Can’t wait until it is done 🙂 I love love love ginger and lemon combo so I am certain I will be making this often!

  8. Michelle says:

    Delicious and easy to make! I added blueberries, and an enjoying with a cup of coffee on a rainy Memorial Day morning. Thankful for my freedom each and everyday!


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