I don’t care what the groundhog said, winter is going to be hanging around a while longer. I’ve been shuffling around in my fuzzy slippers and fleece scarf, and I’m still cold. But there is nothing like the spicy aroma of gingerbread wafting through the house to warm you up. (A cup of tea doesn’t hurt, either.)
There are as many recipes for gingerbread as there are cookbooks, but I have a favorite. I hadn’t made it in a very long time, because I hadn’t found the main ingredient–Lyle’s Golden Syrup–in any of my nearby grocery stores. Some of you may be more fortunate. But finally I found it at my local World Market, where I go often enough to stock up on coffee beans. They didn’t have the tins, but they had a nice squeezy bottle that contained almost 12 ounces.
It looks like a cake, but don’t forget that it’s called gingerbread. It is silky and moist, with an almost smoky flavor, but not very sweet. Just the way I like it. You can bake it in most any kind of pan, but to make it a little more special (and reduce the baking time significantly), try a springform pan with a fluted tube base.
adapted from Laurie Colwin and Delia Smith
9 Tbsp. butter
11-12 ounces Lyle’s Golden Syrup (the whole container)
2 cups all-purpose flour (add 2 Tbsp. if you have a full 12 oz. of syrup)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round pan or 8-inch square and line the bottom with parchment. If you use a nonstick pan (like the springform), there is no need to add the parchment.
Melt 9 tablespoons of butter with the Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. Mix the butter and syrup into the dry ingredients. Add the egg and milk, and beat well. Be sure to scrape the bowl with a spatula a few times.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for as little as 30 minutes (for a tube pan) to as much as 50 minutes for a 9-inch pan. The middle should be just set, and a wooden pick inserted in the middle will still have a few crumbs attached. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Serve it plain, or with whatever additions make you happy: whipped cream, powdered sugar, a little jam. Frost it if you like. The gingerbread keeps well for several days.
Melissa Jerves writes about food, family and 21st century home economics on her blog, Home Baked.