This week I was craving a cake. Oh, we still have Christmas cake left, but I wanted cake cake. Something without raisins and currants and peel . . . just cake. Something that I could just sit down and enjoy a slice of with a nice hot cup of herbal tea.
It didn't have to be fancy smancy . . . just pleasant and satisfying. I toyed with making a Victoria Sandwich Cake (which is our favourite cake) or a Coffee Walnut Cake (another favourite), but they just weren't ticking the boxes of my desire.
I wanted something spicy and dense, dark and delicious and then I remembered this gingerbread cake recipe that I have had in my big blue binder for about a bazillion years. In fact I think its been about a bazillion years since I have made it.
You cannot call it a pretty cake by any stretch. It is the ugly step sister of pretty cake. The country cousin of the city mouse . . . a cake you might be tempted to overlook when glancing upon it sitting in the glass case of a bake shop.
Were you to do so you would be making a grave mistake. This is the kind of gingerbread cake that sonnets could be written about, poems . . . novels. This is the kind of gingerbread cake that you could imagine Meg, Amy, Jo and Beth sitting down to enjoy on cold winter's evening while the fire burns low in the grate, whilst Marmee reads to them the latest missive from their pa . . .
It is a gingerbread cake that gets more delicious with each day that it stands . . . denser, moister . . .
The cake you will find yourself sneaking down the stairs to steal a smidgen of in the middle of the night. Midnight feast cake has no calories, everyone knows that!
This is the kind of cake as a child I imagined Mary Poppins picking up for Michael and Jane Banks, with shiny gold stars stuck to its surface, all wrapped up in brown paper . . .
Oh, I know I do have a fanciful mind. It comes from a lifetime of reading books. I come by that habit honestly. My father inspired a love of the written word in me when I was very young . . . I can still hear his voice reading to me in my mind's eye. He would change his voice with each character in the story. It is a beautiful memory that I hold dear and close in my heart.
In any case I do hope you will bake this lovely ugly step sister of a cake and that you will enjoy it. The ginger glaze icing is quite tasty . . . and it would be lovely spread with softened butter as well, or . . . dare I suggest it, lemon curd.
Today I fancied a little bit of indulgence with a small squirt of squirty cream . . . .
They do say a little bit of what you fancy does the body and the mind good . . . I believe that's true.
Author: Marie Rayner
Deep, Dark & Delicious Gingerbread
A moist, sticky and dense slice with plenty of ginger spice!
- 250g butter (1 cup +1 1/2 TBS)
- 250g soft dark brown sugar (1 1/4 cup, packed)
- 250g molasses or dark treacle (9 fluid ounces)
- 300ml whole milk (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 large free range eggs
- 5 knobs of preserved ginger in syrup, chopped finely
- 375g plain flour (2 1/2 cups + 3 TBS)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
How to cook Deep, Dark & Delicious Gingerbread
- Preheat the oven to 165*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. Butter a 9-inch square baking tin and line it with baking paper. Set aside.
- Put the butter, sugar, and molasses into a saucepan. Cook over low heat to melt the butter and sugar. Whisk in the milk. Set aside to cool some.
- Whisk together the flour, soda, ginger, allspice and cardamom in a large bowl. Stir in the chopped glace ginger. Make a well in the centre.
- Beat the eggs into the liquid ingredients thoroughly. Pour into the well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir together, gradually drawing in the dry ingredients from the side of the bowl until you have a smooth and thick batter. Pour into the prepared baking tin.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, until well risen and firm to the touch. Do NOT be tempted to open the door prior to that time or the cake may sink in the middle. Once an hour has passed, check the cake. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. If it doesn't cook for a further 10 minutes and try again. The cake is done when the skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cold remove from the tin and either wrap tightly and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Optional Icing - Whisk together 65g of sifted icing sugar (1/2 cup) and enough ginger syrup to give you a smooth drizzle icing. Drizzle decoratively over the cold cake.
Note - if you can't get preserved stem ginger, you can use candied ginger. I would say about 12 pieces, chopped finely. Instead of syrup in the glaze icing use some fresh lemon juice
Did you make this recipe?
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Created using The Recipes Generator
I enjoyed this with a hot cup of Taylor's Spiced Apple Tea. It was definitely a "Home Sweet Home" moment and made for a great beginning to my year.