quick and easy galangal & lime cake (gluten-free)

This is a very simple and quite speedy cake that can made and iced within an hour.

The sponge is flavoured with galangal, which gives a lovely subtle spicy flavour, although you can use ground ginger for a more potent kick.

I have gone for a very simple and quick rich cream cheese icing, flavoured with icing sugar and lime juice. I add a little melted white chocolate to the icing so that it holds it shape, but of course the flavour of white chocolate is not to be sniffed at!

The cake is finished with a tangy lime syrup drizzled over both the icing and brushed over the sponge itself.

I made this cake gluten-free, using gluten-free self-raising flour (I used Dove’s) but it can, of course, be made using traditional self-raising flour.


I used powdered galangal in the cake – a relative of ginger but with different flavour notes – that I received from Absolute Spice.

Galangal gives a lovely subtle spice flavour and a gentle heat. If using ground ginger, reduce the amount to 2 teaspoons in the sponge.


I went for one layer of cake sponge, made in an 8″ round tin, but you can make it in a smaller tin for extra depth or even increase the quantities of the ingredients and sandwich the cake together with the icing.

The same mixture, which is essentially a slight variation on a Victoria Sandwich sponge, also makes excellent cupcakes.

Recipe: galangal and lime cake – makes one 8″ cake


  • 175g self-raising flour (or gluten-free self-raising flour)
  • 1 teaspoon (gluten-free) baking powder
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g light soft brown sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 3 level teaspoons ground galangal
  • 3 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime (the juice is used in the icing)


  • 300g cream cheese
  • 50g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g best quality white chocolate, melted
  • juice of 1 lime

Lime syrup:

  • 120ml water
  • 100g sugar
  • the juice and grated zest of 1 lime

(1) Preheat the oven to 160C(fan). Butter and base-line an 8″ sandwich tin with greaseproof paper.

(2) Put the butter, sugars and lime zest into a medium bowl. Add the eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder and galangal powder into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together until the mixture just comes together: don’t over-beat if using standard self-raaising flour or the cake will be dense.

(3) Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is well risen and just pulling away from the sides. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin and turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

(4) While the cake is baking, make the syrup: put all the syrup ingredients together in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. Boil for about 5 minutes until you get a light syrup. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

(5) For the icing, beat the ingredients together to give a smooth mixture.

(6) Brush a little of the syrup over the cooled cake and spoon over the icing, flattening or swirling with a palette knife. Drizzle more of the syrup over the icing.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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