Cold. Wet. Dark early. Are we really in August?
Seeing as the weather is much more reminiscent of late autumn/winter than summer, it’s only natural to gravitate towards unseasonable food to accompany said weather. In my world, at any rate.
You’ll know by now that gingerbread in its many forms has a huge hold on my heart. I’m too aware I have been in this territory before (the Yorkshire Parkin and the regular slab-style gingerbread I created in 2015) but if my cookbook collection is anything to go by, there’s infinite ways to bring sugar and spice together in pleasurably sticky harmony.
This is gingerbread as I like it – heady with black treacle, which has the bitter sweetness of burnt toffee, and packing a fierce hit of peppery ginger. Preferably left at least a day before eating as it only gets stickier.
I can’t take the credit for the recipe though – it comes from the Domestic Princess and is an adaptation of her fantastic (and pretty damn accurate reproduction) recipe for McVitie’s Golden Syrup Cake, itself a guilty pleasure of mine and one of the few mass-produced cakes I have no shame in buying, along with it’s Jamaican Ginger sister – which, I suppose you could say, I was aiming for with this.
This also has the added bonus of being easily veganised – just substitute the butter and milk for non-dairy versions, and it of course contains no eggs. If you wanted to be ambitious you could use gluten free plain flour too.
75g soft dark brown (or even better, dark muscovado) sugar
75g softened salted butter (or vegan margarine)
150g black treacle
75ml milk (or dairy free equivalent)
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C, and grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.
- In a bowl, combine the flour with the bicarb, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon and whisk or fork to mix.
- In either a free-standing mixer or in a bowl with a hand whisk, cream together the butter and sugar until you have a manila-toned cream- if using dark muscovado the sugar will always have a slight bit of grit to it.
- Place the milk and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Once boiled, and with the motor still running on the mixer, carefully pour the hot milk/water mixture into the creamed butter and sugar, followed by the treacle, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. This is very liquid, so don’t panic! Also be careful of splashes.
- Add in the dry ingredients and continue until combined, being careful not to over mix and once more scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Check after 40 though as ovens do vary – a tester should come out clean.
- Once the cake is cooked, leave to cool completely in its tin on a cooling rack.
- If you can bear to resist, leave for a day at least before cutting as the stickier the better.