Smells like Christmas

I’ve had my eye on this iced treat since I watched Mary Berry make it on TV. Parts of the recipe just looked like fun. I live in the US, so I’d never seen treacle. And the only ginger I’d cooked or baked with is fresh root and powder. And what is Mixed Spice?! Turns out the things that interested me the most could not be found here in town. I couldn’t find muscovado sugar, treacle, mixed spice or stem ginger bulbs in syrup. I ended up looking up mixed spice on google and creating my own mix. I substituted light brown sugar for muscovado sugar and hit up Amazon for the rest. I LOVE Amazon!! I can’t begin to tell you how many amazing things I’ve found for my kitchen. I really have to watch my Amazon buying. Insomnia/mania and grief combined with late-night Amazon browsing can be disastrous. I’ve turned off the “1 click and buy” option on Amazon to make the purchasing a bit slower. I can get myself in trouble fast. The past two years have been especially tricky.  We built and moved into a new house and my mother passed away from cancer.  I’ve had a difficult time managing not only the mania, which comes in the form of insomnia and racing thoughts, but the depression as well. I switched doctors for medication management, changed meds, upped meds, increased therapy sessions, lessened caffeine intake…. Whew!  Everything that’s gone on in the last two years has been closely monitored and talked about. Sleep disturbances are a major red flag warning. If I’m not sleeping, I’m getting manic. If all I’m doing is sleeping, depressive. Finding the middle ground is so difficult. I have an Apple Watch and I downloaded this amazing app that helps me track my sleep. It shows when I get deep sleep, when I’m tossing and turning, and total sleep. The information helps me to stay on a better routine for going to bed and helps my doctor and I decide when I should take my meds. If I’m consistently awake until 2 am, I need to cut out caffeine or take my afternoon med a bit earlier. It’s a simple way to look at my sleep and look at what is working and when. I can look back over the last year and see exactly how stress has affected my sleep and when additional meds were added. It’s kind of amazing. I realize the watch isn’t exact science, however it gives a fairly good rough estimate. If I stay on top of sleep it makes dealing with and recognizing other symptoms that much easier. Hopefully you find what works. If not, keep adjusting. Managing bipolar is a full-time job. Make sure you create a small break of happiness within the madness. This cake was a nice break this week. It made my kitchen smell amazing and tasted just like Christmas smells. Happy Baking!

Ginger and Treacle Spiced Traybake

Bake at 160 c fan or 325 F for 35-40 min/ Recipe from’ Mary Berry’s Baking Bible’ by Mary Berry 

*I substituted a few things due to not being able to find them in the United States and ordered a few ingredients online. My cake tin was a 9×13, so it was a bit thinner and took less time in oven. It was still delicious. Treacle was a new experience. All in all, is tasted just like Christmas.


  • 225g (8oz) softened butter 
  • 175g (6oz) light muscovado sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 200g (7oz) black treacle (ordered online)
  • 300g (11oz) self-rising flour 
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice (I made my own mixed spice)
  • 1 level teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 4 tablespoons milk 
  • 3 finely chopped bulbs of stem ginger from a jar (ordered online)

For the icing

  • 75g (3oz) icing sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons stem ginger syrup from the jar 
  • 3 finely chopped bulbs of stem ginger from a jar 


Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4/325 F. Grease a 30×23 cm (12x9in) traybake or roasting tin, then line the base with baking parchment. 

Put all the ingredients for the traybake into a large bowl and beat until well blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping the bowl with a plastic spatula to remove all the mixture. Level the top gently with the back of the spatula. 

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35–40 minutes, or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the center with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. 

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the ginger syrup and mix until the icing is smooth and has a spreading consistency. Pour the icing over the cake, spread it gently to the edges with a small palette knife and sprinkle with the chopped stem ginger to decorate. Allow the icing to set before slicing the traybake into 15–20 pieces. 

Tips Treacle can be difficult to weigh accurately, as it tends to stick to the scale pan. Weighing it on top of the sugar overcomes this problem. This traybake freezes very well un-iced, and in fact improves with freezing.